10 Things You Don’t Know About Britain, the #HomeofRugby

Thursday 29 October 2015

For a chance to see the action of the Rugby World Cup 2015 final ‘live', you need to nab a flight fast. Departures from Australia on Friday evening will have you in London in time for the 4pm kick off at Twickenham.

On the eve of this weekend's final, as the Wallabies take centre stage against the reigning World Champions, the All Blacks, here are 10 things you may not know about the #HomeofRugby.

For a chance to see the action of the Rugby World Cup 2015 final ‘live', you need to nab a flight fast. Departures from Australia on Friday evening will have you in London in time for the 4pm kick off at Twickenham.

On the eve of this weekend's final, as the Wallabies take centre stage against the reigning World Champions, the All Blacks, here are 10 things you may not know about the #HomeofRugby.

1. The first ever international rugby match took place between England and Scotland played in Edinburgh, 1871.

2. The Welsh rugby team were the first to ever sing their national anthem before a game in response to New Zealand's famous Haka dance in Cardiff, 1905. This reaction was the start to the tradition of singing national anthems before major sporting events!

3. Rugby is the national sport in three countries; Wales, New Zealand and Madagascar. Britain's national sport is cricket, which is often over looked by our most popular sport - football.

4. This weekend's Rugby World Cup Final will be held at Twickenham - the world's largest rugby-devoted stadium.

5. No team has ever won two Rugby World Cup tournaments in succession - yet. Can New Zealand end this in 2015?

6. The same whistle is used to kick off the opening game of every Rugby World Cup - it was first blown by a Welsh referee as he oversaw a match between England and New Zealand in 1905!

7. The game originated when Rugby School pupil, William Webb Ellis, picked up the ball in a football match and ran with it instead of kicking in 1823.

8. Two butchers created the Rugby Sevens in 1888 in Melrose, Scotland.

9. Basketball is said to have been originated by a rugby coach in 1891 as he wanted an indoor sport to keep his rugby players fit during the winter!

10. England Rugby 2015 estimates two million spectators have viewed the 46 RWC2015 matches hosted to date in 13 venues across England and Wales. Over 900,000 fans have visited the official Fanzones in the host cities and Rugby.

UK Fanzones and Screenings

All Black supporters and Wallabies fans already in Britain can soak up the rugby atmosphere at one of the official Rugby Fanzones in London including Trafalgar Square, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Old Deer Park in Richmond, only 20 minute walk from Twickenham. There are also sites in Rugby and Exeter. With free entry, food stalls and a tournament buzz, the FanZones are a great base for fans and families.

Breweries, pubs, parks and even rooftop venues in central London are also hosting finals parties this weekend for rugby supporters and sporting novices alike. See full list below.

There are plenty of other ways rugby fans can take in years of sporting history across Britain including visiting one of the dedicated rugby museums. The Webb Ellis Rugby World Football Museum in Rugby has 160 years' worth of memorabilia and artefacts on display while the World Rugby Museum in Twickenham houses 25,000 objects in its permanent galleries.

Sport is GREAT

Britain is home to the oldest and prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon, tracking back to the 19th century. Cricket is also thought to have originated in England as far back as the 12th century. And Scotland is home to the modern game Golf, with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews founded in 1745.

Aside from Britain's rich history of traditional sporting pursuits, the nation plays host to a range of weird, wacky and wonderful sports;

  • International Worthing Birdman, involving human-powered flying machines!
  • World Bog Snorkelling Triathlon Championships which aims to run eight miles, navigate two lengths of a 60-yard murky trench and then a 12 mile bike ride!
  • River football, the World Gravy Championships, Ramsbottom World Black Pudding Throwing Championships and Race the Train are just some of the other unusual sports played in Britain.
  • For more info on Britain's other sports check out our guide to Sport is GREAT:


Notes to editors

  • Prince Harry, Honorary President of England Rugby 2015 will present the Webb Ellis Cup to the winners of Rugby World Cup 2015 at Twickenham Stadium on October 31
  • Fans can monitor tickets.rugbyworldcup.com for any official resale or additional ticketsfor the Bronze Final and Final.
  • Click here for a full list of Fanzones around Britain.

For more information:

Kristen Angus, Insights and Communications Manager Australia

E: kristen.angus@visitbritain.org

Where to catch Rugby World Cup Final screenings
Great British Summer at The Refinery

The terrace at The Refinery will gain deckchairs, a white picket fence and a massive screen so that its customers can watch every last moment of the year's sporting tournaments. Don't worry about the action going on after dark, either - they've got warm blankets to keep their drinkers cosy.

Rugby on the Green
Catch a game on the big screen during the Rugby World Cup with these outdoor events taking place on green spaces in Fulham, south-west London. The open-air screenings will be accompanied by DJs and tickets include a complimentary drink, entry to a rugby skills fun zone and a snazzy poncho. Other highlights include pop-up stores, cocktails and craft beers and a silent disco. Book in advance online. www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/rugby-on-the-green

Rugby World Cup at Rotunda
Rotunda in Kings Cross is upping the rugger screening stakes. Visitors will be able to watch the matches on a 48" curved plasma telly while drinking form Heineken kegs and tucking into hot dogs. Private dining room packages are also available where guests can build their own burger share steak platters. www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/rugby-world-cup-at-rotunda

Rugby World Cup Screenings at Wimbledon Brewery
Head to Wimbledon Brewery to catch live screenings of the Rugby World Cup. Ale-loving sports fans can take part in pre-match brewery tours and tasting sessions before settling down in front of the big screen to enjoy the match. Each ticket includes two free pints and BBQ burgers will also be on offer.www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/rugby-world-cup-screenings-at-wimbledon-brewery

Sky-high Tries
Roof-top film club has transformed Roof East in Stratford into a Rugby retreat. Watch the game on a massive LED screen with stunning views over London and the Olympic Stadium. Alongside the street food take advantage of the food and drinks deals. Entry is free. http://londonist.com/2015/09/where-to-watch-rugby-world-cup-2015

Sporting Museums
There are plenty of other ways fans can take in years of sporting history and present day artefacts across Britain:

Webb Ellis Rugby World Football Museum, Rugby, central England
The birthplace of Rugby is naturally home to the Rugby Museum. Holding a large collection of rugby memorabilia and artefacts gathered over 160 years!

World Rugby Museum Twickenham, London
Located in the East Stand of Twickenham Stadium, the museum houses 25,000 objects in its permanent galleries. There are a number of interactive games for adults and children alike to get involved in, and there are also opportunities to go on tours of the stadium. The tours include viewings of the royal box, hospitality suites, medical room, player's tunnel, a view of the stadium from the top of the stands and a pitch-side walk. www.englandrugby.com/twickenham/world-rugby-museum

Millennium Stadium Tours, Cardiff, Wales
The iconic Millennium Stadium has plans for it to become the permanent home to several distinctive sporting artefacts that are currently housed at the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans in Cardiff, showcasing sporting achievements in the home of Welsh rugby. www.millenniumstadium.com/tours

National Football Museum, Manchester, north-west England
Manchester is home to the National Football Museum, displaying the sport's culture and history for existing fans, and aims to introduce non-fans into the exciting world of football. Exhibits explain how football became ‘the people's game' and is a key part of England's heritage. The museum is home to the country's most extensive football collection, housing more than 140,000 items, including the FIFA Collection. www.nationalfootballmuseum.com

Arsenal Museum and Stadium Tour, London
Arsenal players provide commentary to your stadium tour, whether it's a Legends your guided by a former player, or a self-guided audio tour. Visitors can enjoy exhibitions such as Michael Thomas; boots from Anfield '89, Charlie George's 1971 FA Cup final shirt and Alan Smith's shirt from 1994's European Cup Winners Cup Final. www.visitbritainshop.com

Chelsea FC Museum and Stadium Tour, London
Chelsea's new high-tech museum is now the largest football museum in London, with all manner of interactive and gadgetry, games and videos. Visitors will be able to see how Chelsea has evolved on and off the pitch to become one of the biggest football clubs in the Premier League. www.visitbritainshop.com

British Golf Museum, St Andrews, Fife, east coast of Scotland
Explore over 500 years of golfing history at The British Golf Museum, after a year-long transformation. Discover the game's historic origins and golfing pioneers like ‘Old' Tom Morris and James Braid, through creative exhibitions and multimedia displays. www.britishgolfmuseum.co.uk

The Donington Grand Prix Collection, Derby, central England
Donington is home to the largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars in the world. Offering four halls and more than 130 exhibits, the Collection illustrates the history of motor sport from the turn of 20th century. Get close to cars driven by the likes of Mansell, Prost and Stewart, plus the largest collection of McLaren and Williams racing cars in the world (outside of their factories) and the only complete collection of Vanwalls. www.donington-park.co.uk/about-donington/the-donington-grand-prix-collection

Marylebone Cricket Club Museum, Lord's, London
Though the museum opened its doors to the public in 1953, the museum's collection began in 1864 and spans the full history of cricket, from its emergence as a major sport in the early 18th century to the contemporary Twenty20. A wide range of cricketing memorabilia is on display, including its most famous artefact, the original Ashes urn. The MCC Museum is open year-round, and is a part of the famous Lord's Tour, a 100-minute guided tour of Lord's Cricket Ground with behind-the-scenes access. Brooklands Museum, located in the birthplace of British motorsport www.lords.org/history/mcc-museum-library-and-collections/mcc-museum

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team


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Twickenham Stadium©VisitBritain Steve Bardens
Twickenham Rugby Stadium, London, England
Prince Harry and Jonny Wilkinson meet local school children at Twickenham Stadium as part of the 100 days to go to Rugby World Cup 2015 celebrations
The London Eye