Class of 2008

Candidates for induction to the IRB Hall of Fame

XIX Century

19.1. Edinburgh Academy and Merchiston Castle School* (Scotland) Played each other for the first time in 1858 - the oldest continuous rugby fixture in the world. The two schools have made extraordinary contributions to Scottish rugby, including at top international level where they provided countless internationals and many Scotland captains, including the current one Mike Blair. Frank Hadden, the coach of Scotland, was the master in charge of rugby at Merchiston between 1983-2000. The Edinburgh Academicals Football Club, also known as Edinburgh Accies, was formed in 1857 and is the oldest rugby club in Scotland, the second oldest in the world and one of the founding members of the SRU.

19.2. Joseph Arthur Gould (Wales) (1864-1919) Described occasionally as the ‘Prince of Players'. Born October 10 1864 in Newport he was nicknamed 'Monkey' and was probably the first genuine star of the game. Gould, remerged on this year's list, having been one of the leading candidates to induction in 2007. Played at centre in 27 games from 1885-97 and captained Wales 17 times. After his retirement, hastened by the presentation of the deeds of a house by the Welsh rugby supporters, which led to a boycott of Wales by England, Scotland and Ireland, he served Wales as a selector and member of the Welsh Union Committee.

19.3. Melrose Club and Ned Haig (Scotland) - Melrose RFC, in the Scottish Borders, is one of the most famous rugby clubs in the world. The club have played at the Greenyards ground since its inception in 1877 and was elected to full membership of the SRU in 1880. That year, Ned Haig, a butcher's apprentice, who was born in the neighbouring Jedburgh on December 7, 1858, joined the club. Together with the town butcher David Sanderson, the then Melrose club captain and other club members he suggested the holding of a tournament to raise funds for the struggling club. In order to accommodate a large number of matches in one afternoon, the tournament was played by teams of seven players over 15 minutes. Haig and Sanderson played for Melrose, who defeated archrivals Gala in the final. This is how the Sevens game and the Melrose 7's, played on the second Saturday in April every year, were born, 125 years ago.

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19.4. Blackheath RC and Francis M. Campbell (England) Blackheath Football Club (later Blackheath Rugby Club) was founded in 1858 - the third oldest club in the world - by old boys of Blackheath Proprietary School, who played a "carrying" game of football. Blackheath, located in the South East of London, was the first rugby club in the world without restricted membership. In 1863 the club developed the tactic of passing the ball from player to player as an alternative to the solo break and the "kick and follow-up". In 1863 Blackheath was a founder member of the Football Association which was formed at the Freemason's Tavern, Great Queen Street. Francis Maude Campbell, the secretary of Blackheath, was elected treasurer of the FA. At the fifth meeting he argued that hacking was an essential element of 'football' and that to eliminate hacking would "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game,..." At the sixth meeting he withdrew Blackheath, explaining that the rules that the FA intended to adopt would destroy the game and all interest in it. Other rugby clubs follow his lead and pulled out the budding Football Association. In this way the great divide between soccer and rugby took place, which preserved the game of Rugby as a separate entity. In 1871, representatives from 22 clubs met in London and formed the RFU. Blackheath is one of seven of the original 22 clubs to have survived to this day.

19.5. Alfred St. George Hamersley KC (Can) MP (England) (1848 -1929) Born on October 8, 1848 at Great Haseley in Oxfordshire, he became a barrister and landowner, and after several years a Member of Parliament. He won four caps as a forward from 1871 to 1874, having been one of the 20 originals in the very first international England v Scotland at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh. He captained England in his last international in 1874, after which he emigrated to New Zealand, where he settled in Timaru, founding the South Canterbury club in 1875 and became one of the founders of the Canterbury Union in 1879. He left for Canada in 1888 where he formed and captained Vancouver FC and became the first President of the British Columbia Rugby Union. He fought in the Maori Wars in New Zealand and returned to England before the Great War, when had enlisted as Lieutenant Colonel - aged 68. 

19.6 The 1888/89 Maoris and Joseph Astbury 'Joe' Warbrick (New Zealand) The 1888 Maoris (or the Natives Team), a privately funded and the longest (103 matches) undertaking in the history of Rugby touring started in New Zealand, followed by matches in Australia and the British Isles. It was the first ever tour of the northern hemisphere, with the visitors being forced to play up to three matches a week to help the promoters make ends meet. The inspiration behind the venture and the tour captain was Joe Warbrick, who had toured Australia in 1884 with the first New Zealand team. Warbrick, who was born in Rotorua in 1862, died at Waimungu in 1903 killed by the accidental eruption of a geyser. He played seven times for New Zealand though did not win any caps. He was one of five brothers who were on the 1888-89 Maoris. He made his first-class debut at 15.

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19.7 Lennard Stokes (Blackheath & England) (1856-1933) The former Blackheath wing and captain made his international debut as a 19-year-old in 1875. He won 12 caps and retired at the end of the 1881 season, having captained his country five times, including the first ever international against Wales, when he played full back, at Blackheath. Born on February 12, 1856 he served the RFU for over 50 years, three of which as President in 1886, 1887 and 1888, aged 30-32. He played cricket for Blackheath CC and for Kent 1877-1880.

19.8. William Percy 'Tottie' Carpmael (Blackheath and Barbarians) (1853-1936) Born in Briscobel, Streatham Carpmael, he was a very good forward and won a Cambridge blue in 1885. He formed the Barbarian Football Club after an oyster supper with several likeminded rugby friends at Leuchters Restaurant in Bradford. Senior partner in a chartered patent agency, he was the first president, secretary and treasurer of the club ‘without a fixed abode', and played in the first game of the newly formed club against Hartlepool in 1890. He died in Menton, southern France in 1936 - the very place where the legendary founder of the game William Webb Ellis had passed away 64 year earlier.

19.9. Francis Escott ‘Frank' Hancock (Cardiff and Wales) (1859-1943) One of four rugby-playing brothers - one of whom PF Hancock played for England - he was born on December 7, 1859 in Wiveliscombe in Somerset, where he died in 1943. A player of unusual talent, pace and intellect, he captained his club at the age of 17 and became captain of Somerset. He joined the Cardiff club in unusual circumstances that let to a revolution in the game. He was selected at centre for the first team in the absence of a regular player, for the match against Cheltenham College during the 1883-84 season. At the time Cardiff, as well as all other clubs, were using three backs. Hancock played so well that the selection committee decided to increase the number of backs from three to four for the next match against Gloucester, rather than leave him out. He never looked back and became captain of Cardiff and Wales (won 4 caps), and the four back system took the world by storm.

19.10 Rev. Frank Marshall A former Headmaster of King James Almondbury School in Huddersfield (1878-1896), he was a leading crusader for amateur rugby at a time the Union Game was confronted with the challenge of the Northern clubs. An active referee, who edited the seminal volume "Football: The Rugby Union Game" - a vivid and comprehensive review of the game in the 19th Century British Isles and Dominions. He led the campaign in Yorkshire, then to the whole of England, to preserve the amateur status of Rugby. He was a President of Yorkshire RFU and a member of the RFU committee, and resigned his membership of Huddersfield Rugby Club, when it was proven that they transgressed the amateur rules. Rev. Frank Marshall probably did more than anyone to keep the Game amateur.

19.11 Liverpool St Helens RFC Celebrated their birthday on December 19 2007, the day it all started 150 years before. To quote from the club's official history: "On December 19, 1857, as the Christmas holidays were approaching, a group of young Liverpool lads were bored and at a loose end. One of them, Frank Albert Mather, a merchant's son living at Bootle Hall, had an idea. A scholar at Rugby School, he wrote to one of his school friends, Richard Sykes, who was the school captain, and invited him to bring his friends to play against a team from Liverpool. Sykes, who lived in Manchester, accepted and the game took place on the Liverpool Cricket Ground, then located at Spekefields in Wavertree. It is reported that around 50 players took part in a game played as 'Rugby versus the World' and there and then the Liverpool [Rugby] Football Club was formed." One of Liverpool's famous old boys, Fran Cotton, the England and Lions prop who founded the sports manufacturing business that bears his name, donated replica 1857 kit for youngsters from 24 local schools to mark the day with a 20-a-side game under 1857 laws and scoring systems.

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* denotes candidate nominated by web user