Rugby School unveils plans to celebrate 200 years since the creation of the game - The Rugby Observer

Rugby School unveils plans to celebrate 200 years since the creation of the game

Rugby Editorial 16th Jun, 2022   0

THE COUNTDOWN to the bicentenary of the creation of the game of Rugby is underway – with Rugby School revealing more details about its celebrations.

Rugby School, where the game was born in 1823, has planned a year of national and international matches and other events in 2023 to celebrate – and has released more details to start the 200-day countdown.

The events include a Legends England/Wales side captained by Mike Tindall playing against a Legends Scotland/Ireland team in November, and an International Schools U18s Sevens Tournament – including players from home nations, Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada – to be held in March.

Tournaments will be played on The Close where the game was invented, which is currently being newly turfed and refurbished in time for the events.

Sarah Hunter MBE, captain of the England women’s rugby team, and one of the patrons supporting Rugby School’s celebrations, visited the School – on The Close where William Webb Ellis famously ‘took the ball in his arms and ran with it’ – to start the 200-day countdown.

Sarah said: “I am delighted to be at the birthplace of the game to start the 200 day countdown to the launch of 2023, it what will be another amazing year for the game, following on the back of the Women’s World Cup this autumn.

“This is a brilliant period to encourage youngsters into the sport, especially girls to get involved, most importantly for enjoyment, but to also inspire the rugby greats of the future.”

Peter Green, Executive Head Master of the Rugby School Group, said: “Sport is an important element of Rugby School and we are proud this wonderful team game, created here by a defiant schoolboy, is so popular around the world.

“We will be celebrating not only with events, exhibitions, re-enactments and festivals, but also with dozens of games being played on The Close – for all ages, abilities and genders from U9s club tournaments to international matches.”

The School will also be repeating the Global Pass that took place in 2017 to mark its 450th birthday. Inspired by the Olympic torch’s global journey, a rugby ball was passed from country to country during nine months, taking in numerous locations and uniting thousands of people with connections to the School. The first of the 200 planned passes will take place at Rugby School in January 2023.

Other event highlights include the World’s Largest Rugby Scrum with 3,000 children, a Re-enactment of the Game, an Easter weekend of rugby games from U9s to Vets Rugby Club Sevens, the Webb Ellis Cycle Pilgrimage: The Close to Twickenham, and a dedicated 2023 Exhibition.

The inaugural patrons supporting Rugby School’s celebrations are Maggie Alphonsi MBE, Sarah Hunter MBE, Martin Johnson CBE, Jason Leonard OBE, Nigel Owens MBE, Emily Scarratt MBE, and Jonny Wilkinson CBE.

Visit for more information on the 2023 calendar of events, and to book tickets.

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