A NEW piece of public art celebrating Rugby’s status as the birthplace of the game has been unveiled.
The Try, the latest in a series of rugby-themed sculptures in the town, has been installed on the Evreux Way roundabout.
It was created by environmental artist Tony Davies, and was commissioned by Rugby Borough Council to mark the bicentenary of rugby football.
The wire sculpture, which depicts a rugby player diving over the try line to score next to the corner flag, follows in the footsteps of The Pass, The Kick and The Tackle, a hat-trick of Tony’s sculptures commissioned by the council to celebrate the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
The Pass stands on the Whitehall Road roundabout and The Kick on the Coventry Road roundabout, while The Tackle takes pride of place on Leicester Road.
The bicentenary celebrations for the birth of the game officially kicked off in February on The Close at Rugby School, where 200 years ago William Webb Ellis displayed his ‘fine disregard for the rules of football’ by taking the ball in his hands and running with it.
Rugby School is holding a programme of events to mark the bicentenary, including a cycle pilgrimage from The Close to Twickenham and a bid to break the record for the world’s largest scrum.
In partnership with the school, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum hosts an exhibition later this year charting the development of the game over 200 years, while an art competition has been launched to find designs to feature on a giant rugby ball sculpture in the town centre.
The council has decorated the town centre with lamppost banners marking the bicentenary, and has added ‘Bicentenary of the Game – 1823-2023’ plates to the ‘Welcome to Rugby’ signs on main routes into the borough.
The council’s celebrations also include a school tag rugby tournament and a new plaque marking the bicentenary on the town centre’s Pathway of Fame, which honours legendary players and major milestones in rugby.
The council’s leisure and wellbeing spokesman Coun Howard Roberts said: “The bicentenary puts the birthplace and proud home of the game in the global spotlight in a year which promises to be spectacular for fans of rugby union.
“In addition to Rugby School’s full calendar of bicentenary celebrations and the council’s programme of community events and commemorations, the Rugby World Cup kicks-off in France in September, with 20 teams competing for the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.
“And on the eve of the Women’s Six Nations, it’s fitting we can unveil a new piece of public art to mark the bicentenary which depicts a woman rugby player diving over the try line to score.”
Visit www.rugbyschool.co.uk/200-anniversary for more information on Rugby School’s bicentenary celebrations.