Rugby fans rub shoulders with legends of the sport

John Eales, Pierre Villepreux, Bryan Williams, Liza Burgess, Michael Lynagh and Agustin Pichot. World Rugby via Getty Images
John Eales, Pierre Villepreux, Bryan Williams, Liza Burgess, Michael Lynagh and Agustin Pichot. World Rugby via Getty Images

Rugby fans rubbed shoulders with legends of the sport when the World Rugby Hall of Fame welcomed the 2018 inductees to the birthplace of the game.

A special ceremony took place at the Hall of Fame recently to officially welcome the five new inductees -Liza Burgess (Wales), Stephen Larkham (Australia), Ronan O’Gara (Ireland), Pierre Villepreux (France) and Bryan Williams (New Zealand).

Burgess, O’Gara, Villepreux and Williams all attended the ceremony, receiving the prestigious Hall of Fame caps and pins from Agustin Pichot, vice-chairman of World Rugby, and Australian rugby legend John Eales, a Hall of Famer and chair of the Hall of Fame selection panel.

Following the ceremony, the new inductees held a ‘meet and greet’ session with fans, signing autographs and posing for photographs.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Pichot said: “Being inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame is a very special moment in any player’s career and all of today’s inductees should be very proud of this achievement.

“Rugby is a sport with special values of which today’s inductees have embodied throughout their careers, both on and off the pitch.”

He added: “On behalf of World Rugby and the rugby family, thank you for your enormous contributions to the sport.”

The ceremony was also attended by the Mayor of Rugby Tom Mahoney, Rugby MP Mark Pawsey and Cllr Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Borough Council, who said they were proud to be involved.

Cllr Stokes said it was a highlight of the town’s year.

He said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony has become one of the highlights of the town’s year, with rugby legends from across the world making the pilgrimage to the birthplace of the game.

“The Hall of Fame has both cemented and enhanced Rugby’s historic status as the place which gave the world the game, and it was a pleasure to welcome this year’s inductees, and representatives from national and international media, to Wednesday’s ceremony.”

For more information on the World Rugby Hall of Fame, visit www.therugbytown.co.uk/halloffame