#FromTheVaults – Ireland v England Touch Flag, 1913

Tough Flag 1913 2010-1851

Following the Guinness Six Nations fixture between England and Ireland at Twickenham this weekend, we wanted to highlight this early touch flag from the collection at the World Rugby Museum. This green flag was used in the Ireland v England Five Nations fixture played in Dublin on 8th February 1913. The design, embroidered on both sides, features Irish shamrocks at the lower left-hand corner, the English rose at the upper right-hand corner and ‘Ireland v England’ at the centre. The flag would have been carried by a touch judge, to be raised when the ball – or the player carrying it – went into touch. Continue reading

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A Walking Tour of Rugby Town with Karl Quinney

If you are a supporter or follower of rugby or just have a general interest in the game, a visit to where the game first started – the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, central England – will be of real interest.

For many of the thousands of visitors that do come to explore from across the world, it is an enlightening experience. And for the most ardent of rugby followers and enthusiasts, it is a pilgrimage of sorts and one of those places to tick off your proverbial bucket list.

So call it a mini-tour as it were, here is a guide to five rugby places to visit in Rugby.

The first port of call has to be Rugby School, the place where rugby all began.

Black and white line drawing od a rugby match in front of the building of Rugby School.

For several centuries, the histories of Rugby and Rugby School have been inextricably linked. Walk through our town streets and in and around the buildings of Rugby School just as the pupils and tutors go about their daily lessons and you will soon begin to feel the energy, atmosphere and buzz that emanates from these historic surroundings. Prepare to find yourself delving into the origins of the sport, to where and how it all started, the history of the characters that shaped the game we know today, and the profound uniqueness of the town’s connections. Continue reading

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England v Ireland 1925, as told by Robert Collis

Bob Collis’ memories of watching Ireland against England at Lansdowne Road in 1911 were recorded in his book ‘The Silver Fleece’, first published in 1936. In this extract from the same book, he describes the emotional journey that came before, during and after representing Ireland at Twickenham in a memorable encounter on 14th February 1925.

Black and white photograph of 15 players in rugby kit and 1 official in a suit and tie

Ireland team v England, 14/02/1925, Twickenham

From all the matches I played in, of all the great moments when I have lived most, the day when Ireland and England drew at Twickenham in 1925 stands out. Continue reading

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World Rugby Museum to Host Exhibition of Charlie Pritchard’s Career

To coincide with the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, the World Rugby Museum will be hosting an exclusive exhibition to highlight the career of acclaimed Welsh rugby star, Charlie Pritchard.

Close up of the collar of a rugby jersey

Pritchard appeared in the infamous game in Cardiff in December 1905, where the Welsh defeated the New Zealand All Blacks for the first time in their history, breaking the All Blacks colossal twenty-seven match-winning run.

The press were almost unanimous in acclaiming Pritchard as the standout Welsh forward, whose tackling and work-rate kept the visitors at bay. He would go on to play fourteen times for Wales. Continue reading

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Weighing up the Competition

Rugby is a very physical contact sport, and as such the physicality of the players has been of great interest to supporters for the majority of the game’s history. Some programmes for tours and matches have listed player weights and heights ever since the early 20th Century. These statistics have been used to try and determine the outcome of matches before they have been played and to pit the 2 packs against each other.

Pictogram showing the increase in average height and weight of rugby players from 1905 to 2013

As rugby union became professional in 1995 we saw the advent of stricter training regimens for players along with coaches having greater control over their diet. These changes have led to an increase in the average player size. A study carried out on New Zealand team weights from 1905 to the present day shows an average increase in weight of the forwards by 25kg and a 19kg increase in the average weight of the backs. Continue reading

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#FromTheVaults – Twickenham Stadium Deed of Conveyance, 1907

Many years ago on a long gone version of our website, we hosted an ‘Object of the Month’ feature, delving into our archives to explore some of our hidden treasures. As it’s the start of a new year and a new decade, it seems the perfect time to revive this project. Out of our 40,000 objects, only 1.4% are on display so there is plenty of unseen collection for you, our readers, to discover!

So we’re going to kick off this series with the Deed of Conveyance for Twickenham Stadium. This four-page document, bound by a green ribbon, states that the land on which Twickenham Stadium stands today was purchased by the RFU on 9th August 1907 for the price of £5,572.12s 6d.

Yellowed paper with calligraphy style writing and a map of the land that was bought for Twickenham Stadium

Continue reading

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On This Day 100 Years Ago…

On this day 100 years ago, one of England’s most iconic captains donned an England jersey for the first time.

William Wavell Wakefield

Born in Beckenham in 1898, William Wavell Wakefield grew up on the shores of Lake Windermere in Cumbria before attending Craig School then Sedburgh.

There he developed as a combative running forward, with a distinctive head down hand-off that sent his opponents flying. Away from rugby, he was an amateur aeronaut. His uncle had built one of the first ever aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water and the juvenile Wakefield became one of its first pilots. Continue reading

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