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HAVING A BALL IN RUGBY: British town celebrates sporting milestone

Ahead of this year’s World Cup of Rugby this Fall, rugby fans around the world are also celebrating the 200th anniversary of the sport’s birth this year. And interest and activities are most notable in British town of Rugby at the West Midlands school where it is said to have all begun.

The aptly named Rugby School, which gave its name to the sport, is expecting close to 40,000 visitors as its hosts a number of events and exhibitions throughout the year, all marking the day that William Webb Ellis first “took the ball in his arms and ran with it” on “The Close” (field) at the school in 1823.

Prior to this date the sport, then known as football, was played much like Australian rules football is today, until Webb Ellis demonstrated a “fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time” leading to the impromptu invention of the new sport of rugby.

Among the year’s activities, Rugby School will be welcoming teams from a range of backgrounds and abilities to play on The Close, as well as hosting dinners, evenings, and its staging its annual arts Festival On The Close (June 26-29), which will be named “With a Fine Disregard,” in honour of Webb Ellis.

Meanwhile, on April 23, the school will be attempting the World’s Largest uncontested rugby scrum on its hallowed pitch. The current world record is 2,586 people, a record the school hopes to surpass with 3,000 participants.


Of longer duration, the Ruby School Museum is hosting an exhibition, running through Dec. 9, welcoming visitors to discover the birthplace of rugby at the school. The visual and audible exhibition will feature photographs, memorabilia, video footage, and interviews with previous members of Rugby School’s XV, illustrating how the game has developed over the years.

The exhibition is open on event days or by prior booking.

Another exhibition – “He Ran With It” – takes place at the Lewis Gallery (through April) and at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum (Sept.-Oct.).

Visitors to the town can also follow its “Pathway of Fame,” which celebrates the history of the game and commemorates some of its most notable players and events.

For a full list of school events and activities, visit HERE.


First published at Travel Industry Today

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