Coventry & Warwickshire

World Rugby Hall of Fame: Jonny Wilkinson attends launch

Inside Hall of Fame Image copyright WixHill
Image caption Nelson Mandela's work to abolish racial tensions in South Africa through rugby is also recognised in the gallery

A hall of fame celebrating rugby union's past has been officially opened at the sport's birthplace.

The World Rugby Hall of Fame was launched by ex-England and British and Irish Lions captain Bill Beaumont at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum in Warwickshire.

World Cup winners Lawrence Dallaglio and Jonny Wilkinson were among 12 stars inducted in to the "hall".

Members of the public will be able to visit from Friday.

Image copyright WixHill
Image caption The hall of fame includes video archive of rugby matches and memorabilia

The World Rugby Hall of Fame was established in 2006, and absorbed the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014, but has previously never had a physical home.

The attraction, which honours players and administrators who have enhanced the game through exceptional achievements, features video archive of rugby matches and memorabilia.

The 10 other players inducted in the Hall of Fame were England's Jeremy Guscott and Maggie Alphonsi, Wale's Shane Williams, John Dawes and Arthur Gould, Scotland's GPS Macpherson, Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, Japan's Daisuke Ohata, Canada's Heather Moyes and Australia's Daniel Carroll.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The World Rugby Hall of Fame will open in the town's art gallery and museum

Players, teams, coaches, media and rugby personalities can all be considered for the hall of fame but they need to have been retired from the game for at least three years and have demonstrated rugby's "core values" to be eligible,

The sport of rugby is said to have been accidentally invented in 1823 after William Webb Ellis, a pupil at a public school in Rugby, caught the ball and started running forward with it.

Image caption The William Webb Ellis statue on Dunchurch Road is outside Rugby School

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