Birthplace of the game of rugby, Rugby School will officially kick off its bicentenary celebrations by sending out 200 balls to be passed around the world during 2023.
The first Global Pass will happen at the School on 5 February when Mike Tindall MBE and Nigel Gillingham, President of the Rugby Football Union, will take part.
Nigel, and Mike, who is one of the School’s XV 2023 patrons*, will be joined by Red Roses player Emily Scarratt MBE*; The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP, DCMS Minister; Peter Green, Executive Head Master of Rugby School Group; His Honour Giles Forrester, Rugbeian XV captain (1957) and David Bennett, the current School XV captain, to make the first passes.
The ball will continue to be passed between the 140 people gathered before it joins the other 199 anniversary rugby balls (made by local firm Gilbert Rugby) to be sent by DHL to 200 rugby enthusiasts around the world to continue the bicentenary global pass.
They will include Lawrence Dallaglio, former England rugby captain; John Eales, former Australia rugby captain; Francois Louw, former South African rugby player and a member of the team that won the 2019 World Cup; Jason Leonard OBE, former England rugby player; and many Rugbeians.
These rugby supporters have all agreed to host an event during which they will record a pass in their own location. Every week throughout 2023, Rugby School will feature a ‘Sunday Pass’ montage on its website and social media.
Throughout the year, Rugby School will host a number of matches, starting with the England v Wales U18 women’s international capped match on Sunday 5 March followed by an international U18s sevens tournament on 25 and 26 March 2023, when 20 teams from around the world will be playing. Every match throughout the year will be live-streamed by NextGenXV.
Peter Green said: “I have been a lifelong supporter of rugby – as player, coach and spectator – and have always been struck by the strong and enduring friendship that the game fosters, its sense of community and inclusivity wherever it is played, and the trust in each other that teams demonstrate on the pitch. All of us at Rugby School are proud that the game of rugby – our game – is played and enjoyed by so many people. We are grateful to Gilbert Rugby and DHL for sponsoring this first event in a long list of celebrations throughout 2023.”