Rugby Pioneer Hamersley Inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame

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The late Alfred St. George Hamersley, one of Rugby’s first internationals, has been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper made the presentation of the IRB Hall of Fame cap and pin to Marlborough College (England), where Hamersley was educated and first played ‘football’ under the interpretation of Rugby School rules.

One of life’s great achievers, Hamersley was a barrister by profession and later became an MP in his home county of Oxfordshire.

Having established a reputation as a powerful forward, Hamersley was selected by England to play in the first-ever international against Scotland at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on March 27 1871. Scotland won by one goal and one try to one try.

Hamersley went on to captain England in the last of his four appearances in 1874, the same year that he emigrated to New Zealand to practise law.

Once settled, he helped to establish the South Canterbury Football Club. In 2010 the local senior men’s competition named its trophy The Hamersley Cup in honour of one of its Union’s founding fathers. Its inscription reads: “Presented in recognition of Alfred St George Hamersley and his pioneering contribution to South Canterbury Rugby 1875”.

After 15 years in New Zealand the Hamersley family moved to Canada where he continued his sporting missionary work.

His love of Rugby led him to join Vancouver Football Rugby Club and become the first President of the British Columbia Rugby Union in 1889.

On his return to England in 1905 he remained involved in Rugby and was instrumental in helping to form the Oxfordshire Nomads Rugby Union Football Club in 1909, which was later to become Oxford RFC.

Hamersley served his country as a Lieutenant General in the Great War. He died in 1929, aged 80.

Gosper said: “It is an honour to be making this presentation on behalf of the global Rugby family to induct one of its visionaries and true pioneers to join the prestigious IRB Hall of Fame.”

“Alfred St. George Hamersley had such a profound impact on the development of the Game in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, establishing Rugby clubs and epitomising Rugby’s character-building values of solidarity, passion and respect that have played a central role in Rugby’s growth and prosperity.”

Jonathan Leigh, Master of Marlborough College, added: “Marlborough College is pleased to be associated with the induction of Alfred St. George Hamersley into the IRB Hall of Fame. As one of the earliest schools to play Rugby, it is both fitting and an honour to have had an England captain of such distinction who later served his country with such dedication.”

Click here for profiles of the IRB Hall of Fame inductees on the IRB website >>

About the IRB Hall of Fame:

Chaired by IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, the IRB Hall of Fame honours Rugby greats who have enhanced the Game through their exceptional achievements. Players, entire teams, administrators, coaches, referees, members of the media and Rugby personalities are considered based on their outstanding contributions.

Each year, the IRB Hall of Fame recognises the achievements of individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the development of the Game worldwide. The theme of this year’s induction is “Rugby – a global Game” and celebrates Rugby’s expansion to become a global sport played by millions of men and women worldwide.

The IRB Hall of Fame was launched in 2006 with the induction of Rugby School and William Webb Ellis. Since then the following legends have been inducted: Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Dr Danie Craven, Sir Wilson Whineray, Gareth Edwards, John Eales, The 1888 Natives Team and Joseph Warbrick, Ned Haig and the Melrose club, Dr Jack Kyle, Philippe Sella, Hugo Porta, William Maclagan, Barry Heatlie, Bennie Osler, Cliff Morgan, Sir Anthony O’Reilly AO, Frik du Preez, Dr. Syd Millar, Willie John McBride, Sir Ian McGeechan, Jean Prat, Lucien Mias, Andre and Guy Boniface, Serge Blanco, Harry Vassall and Alan Rotherham, Cardiff RFC and Frank Hancock, David Gallaher, Barbarian FC and WP Carpmael, Mike Gibson, Dr Roger Vanderfield, Richard Littlejohn, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, John Kendal-Carpenter, David Kirk, Sir Brian Lochore, Nick Farr-Jones, Bob Dwyer, Francois Pienaar, Kitch Christie, Rod Macqueen, Gareth Rees, Sir Clive Woodward OBE, Jonah Lomu, Jake White, Brian Lima, Agustín Pichot, Martin Johnson CBE, John Smit, Gordon Tietjens, Ian & Donald Campbell, Yoshihiro Sakata, the 1924 Romanian Olympic Team, the gold medal-winning USA Olympic Team of 1920 and 1924, and Richard and Kennedy Tsimba.

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