latest news 11 December 2023
RUGBY SCHOOL STUDENTS RE-CREATE THE MOMENT WEBB ELLIS FIRST RAN WITH THE BALL
More than 1000 spectators watched as 300 Rugby School students in full costume recreated the moment Webb Ellis ran with the ball, marking the invention of rugby football in 1823. Taking place on The Close, the same pitch as the very first game of rugby, the re-enactment formed part of a day of celebration marking 200 years of rugby.
The role of William Webb Ellis was played by 15-year-old rugby sports scholar and Town House boy, Lochie Glackin from Coventry. Spectators from around the world, including former England international Jonny Wilkinson, watched pitch side and through the YouTube livestream as Lochie charged towards the try line, showcasing the moment a sport was born.
Rugby School students then acted out key moments in the history of rugby football: from the introduction of caps, the first rules and referees, the first woman to officially play rugby, the first Rugby Union World Cups for both men and women, right up to the present day.
Following in the footsteps of Webb Ellis, the Wooden Spoon Legends and Vets teams took to the pitch for a women’s game, captained by Tamara Taylor for the Rugbiean’s team with Gill Burns MBE leading Wooden Spoon, and then the men’s game, captained by former Scottish International Alex Grove for Rugby and Matt Gilbert for Wooden Spoon. Tamara and Alex lifted the trophies on behalf of the winning Rugbeian’s teams.
Lochie said he was delighted to play the role of Webb Ellis: “As a rugby player, this was such an exciting moment and a great way to finish the school year. The re-enactment was an opportunity for us all to get together to celebrate this key moment in sporting history.”
Peter Green, Executive Headmaster of Rugby School Group added: “This has been a spectacular celebration of the game of rugby. It’s unusual to be able to pinpoint the moment a sport was born, but with rugby we can, and today, at the birthplace of the game, Rugby School, we celebrated that moment. A highlight in our year of celebrations, I was delighted to see so many people joining us, not just for a great afternoon of sport and charity fundraising, but to mark the 200 years of the game that began here.”
Partnering with Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, fundraising was a key focus for the day, with all monies raised split between Wooden Spoon and Rugby School’s 1823 Bursary Fund.