The Man Who Wore the World’s Oldest International Rugby Jersey

John Henry Clayton only played one international match of rugby in his life, but it was a match to be remembered.  On March 27th 1871, Clayton, along with nineteen other Englishmen, would take on a Scottish Twenty at Raeburn Place for the first ever international rugby match.  Played in front of 4,000 spectators, this game would be the start of a rugby rivalry that continues to this day.

Clayton jersey

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Scotland v England touch flag, 1925

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This month saw the beginning of the 2018 Natwest 6 Nations Championship.  Ahead of this year’s Calcutta Cup match we are highlighting this touch flag which is currently on display in the Six Nations gallery of the new World Rugby Museum.

Between 1883 and 1909 the Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) played each other in an annual series of friendly matches.  In 1910 France joined the series, playing matches against all of the Home Union teams, beginning what became known as the Five Nations Championship.  Up until the early 1990s there was no trophy for this tournament.  Rugby was still an amateur sport, and the idea of official competitions was frowned upon by many.  The tournament became known as the Six Nations Championship in 2000 when Italy joined. Continue reading

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In Loving Memory of Poor Old England (1905)

1905 was an exciting year in Cardiff.  In recognition of the city’s importance as one of the great economic and industrial successes of the age, Cardiff was granted city-status by King Edward VII; the National Museum was founded in Cardiff; and for rugby fans, Cardiff was the location of some fantastic international rugby from a Wales side on the cusp of global preeminence.  The day that kick-started the glorious year for Welsh rugby was 14th January 1905, when England were heavily defeated by the home side at Cardiff Arms Park. Using a bit of twisted humour, a funeral notice was produced for ‘Poor Old England’ who lost 25-0 on that fateful day.

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I remember when…

Twickenham Stadium Tour Guide Phil Mead recalls his first trip to Twickenham back in 1953…

I can remember my first visit to Twickenham and who I went with.  I was at Lewes Grammar School and I was very proud to be in the under 14s Rugby Team.  It was Trevor Richardson, our very talented scrum half, who I was very friendly with, who asked, “Do you fancy seeing England’s game against Scotland?”  This was 1953 and sport, particularly rugby, was a big part of our lives.  As my weekly income was 6/- (six shillings) from a paper round, we had to travel economy style!  I lived in Lewes and Trevor lived in Brighton in an area called Coldean.   On Friday night I cycled the seven miles to Coldean to stay the night with Trevor’s family, and then we were up in the pitch dark to catch a bus to Brighton station.  The bus fare was 2½d (two and half old pence and there were 240 of them to the pound sterling) to catch the 0630 hrs workmen’s train to London Bridge, the return fare was 4s 6d (four and six pence – nearly a whole week’s paper round money!)

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Posted in England, Scotland, Twickenham | 4 Comments

Building a Legend: The Evolution of Twickenham Stadium

The World Rugby Museum will be reopening its doors on 2nd February 2018, after a yearlong redevelopment project, with a special exhibition Building a Legend: The Evolution of Twickenham Stadium.

The ‘cabbage patch’, as Twickenham is affectionately known, has come a long way since its days as a market garden.  The stadium is now a multi-use venue with a hotel, gym and conference facilities.  It is also much larger than its original incarnation, with a current seating capacity of approximately 82,600.

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Twickenham Stadium Model in situ in the old World Rugby Museum in the East Stand of the stadium.

This model was created by the architects, Motts Architecture, in 1995.  Originally the model only featured the East, West and North stands, and the old South Stand.  In September 2002, the model was taken back by the architects who then added the South Stand to it.  This model was then used to show people how the Stadium would look when work was completed.  The model is over 1.3 metres in length and has been produced to a scale of 1:250.

This new exhibition which will chart the progress from farm land to fortress through visual snapshots of key dates in the life of the stadium.

Entry to the World Rugby Museum can be combined with a Twickenham Stadium Tour. Visit www.worldrugbymuseum.com to find out more.


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Less than 3 weeks to go!

cropped-dq_vlxxxuaacxjqFebruary 2018 will see the World Rugby Museum reopen its doors to visitors in the South Stand of Twickenham Stadium after a year long relocation project.

The World Rugby Museum is the definitive home for everything and anything about rugby.  Featuring more than three times as many objects, the new museum will display memorabilia from around the world and from all eras, making it a must visit for all rugby fans. Continue reading

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It’s a Grizzly Experience When Alex Packs His Boots

Alaska referee

Alex Marsh, a 22-year old match official, flew to the other side of the world in June to tell the KYBO! community about the exciting refereeing opportunities that exist if you are willing to pack your boots and travel.  The Roaming Referee is with Gloucester & District Referees Society and recently graduated from Gloucester University.

He has spent the summer getting to know the referee communities in New Zealand, Australia and latterly Anchorage, where he discovered Pack Your Boots! in Alaska, also means run for your life when your neighbour is local grizzly bear.  Alaskan referees take this kind of thing in their stride – where else do you get wayward Moose walking onto the pitch during a game? Continue reading

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