Celebrating rugby's illustrious past and inspiring future generations of players and supporters, the World Rugby Hall of Fame will be opened officially on Thursday 17 November in the presence of some all-time greats of the game. The Hall of Fame will form a major part of the newly created Rugby Art Gallery and Museum in Rugby town, England, and will be opened by World Rugby Chairman and former England and British and Irish Lions captain Bill Beaumont, who is himself a Hall of Famer.
Also in attendance will be World Rugby Vice-Chairman and Hall of Famer Agustín Pichot, World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper and representatives from Rugby Borough Council (RBC) including the leader of RBC, Cllr Michael Stokes. The occasion will be marked with the induction of 12 greats into the Hall of Fame (details to be announced shortly) who will receive their commemorative cap and gold pin.
Beaumont said: "After extensive planning, we will soon have a permanent and physical World Rugby Hall of Fame, which will celebrate the sport's rich tradition and history while also providing inspiration for the current and future generations of players, officials and supporters of the game.
"And how appropriate it is for the museum to be based in the town of Rugby, where it all began nearly 200 years ago. It really is a momentous occasion of our sport and I hope that people from all over the world will flock to visit the Hall of Fame and learn more about rugby, its journey and its future direction.
"I wish to thank everyone at RBC for their energy and their commitment to this project, the Hall of Fame selection panel for their diligent research and expert consideration and I want to congratulate the latest list of great players who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on 17 November. It is they, through their on-field exploits, who will bring the Hall of Fame to life and will attract millions of rugby pilgrims in the coming years from wherever the game is known.”
Cllr Stokes said: "Rugby is the 'proud home of the game' and I'm delighted that as a result of this partnership between the council and World Rugby that it will also be the home of a world-class visitor attraction that will be here for many years to come as a destination for visitors from around the world.”
The fully interactive museum will integrate the latest technological innovations and themed museo-graphic approach to showcase the sport, its rich heritage and character-building values like never before. Combining World Rugby's extensive video archive and historical memorabilia, the Hall of Fame will invite visitors from all over the world to immerse themselves in a unique experience that explores the moments and personalities that have defined the game, which started in Rugby School in 1823 and has since developed into one of the world's fastest-growing team sports played by 7.73 million men, women and children across 121 national unions affiliated to World Rugby.
Following this official opening, the doors will open to the general public permanently from Friday 18 November.