Rugby School hosts international fixture to kick off series of special events to mark 200 years of the game
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But beyond the score, the fixture has a special place in history as it launches a varied string of fixtures and other events to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the game.
There was added significance to the match being a women’s international.
As the introduction said: “Two hundred years ago, women did not play rugby. The Close was a boys-only ground.”
The first girls joined the school sixth form in 1975, girls joined at 13 from 1992 and that progress at the school has been mirrored in the growth of the women’s game in recent decades.
Following on from Sunday, the fixtures come thick and fast, with an international under 18 sevens tournament on March 25 and 26, then events for under 9s, under 11s, under 14s and vets in early April.
On April 16, there is a day of rugby with a variety of fixtures, including appearances for the Lords and Commons team and England Men’s Deaf team.
The following Sunday, April 23, there will be an attempt to break the world record for an uncontested scrum – the record currently stands at 2,586 taking part.
Events continue throughout the year, including on June 24 when there will be a re-enactment of William Webb Ellis’s fine disregard for the rules in 1823 and matches for both men’s and women’s vets and legends.
Full details are available via the Rugby School website.
The events will fundraise for a variety of causes.
Sunday’s match backed the RFU Injured Players Foundation.
This offers support and information to rugby players in England who sustain a catastrophic spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury playing the game.
It also helps prevent future injuries through research.
With a nod to history, it also raised money for the school’s 1823 bursary fund - Webb Ellis was a bursary student. The bursary will offer means-tested places for boys or girls who show significant promise and aptitude for sport and a commitment to rugby football.