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The William Webb Ellis is just a short punt away from Rugby School. The school and the town gave it's name to the sport of Rugby and the William Webb Ellis pub takes it's name from the schoolboy who "with a fine disregard for the rules" picked up the ball and ran. The pub itself is adorned with memorabilia in a celebration  of the game, complimented by several screens all showing different rugby matches live or recorded. Each way you turn it's rugby, rugby, rugby.  No visit to the birthplace of Rugby Football would be complete without sampling the ale or taking lunch here. Below is a sample of the memorabilia on display and more about the William Webb Ellis.





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The St Bartholomew's Hospital 1927-28 Honours Cap of CR Jenkins

St Bartholomew's is the oldest hospital in London and one of the 12 hospitals that take part in the 'Hospitals Cup', the oldest rugby competition in the world (inauguated 1875). The cap is framed together with 4 action photos of St Bart's matches from this era and a programme from the 1927-8 season between Richmond and St Bart's. The cap belonged to CR Jenkins who can be seen amongst the forwards in this match. CR was the son of Welsh international Jack Jenkins. Father and son played together for Middlesex in 1926, this is surely an unique 'father and son' combination at county level. A medical student at St Bartholomew's, he was a regular for the first XV before moving to Northern Ireland. Whilst in the province he played his rugby with the North of Ireland Football Club, captaining them in the 1933-34 season. He also represented Ulster against the Springboks in 1931. 





Some of the memorabilia lining the walls, the large photo is a player's presentation photo of the 1945/6 NZ Services (Kiwis) squad.  


The traditions of rugby football are upheld with some great displays put together by the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, less than 200 metres away, another place high on the 'must visit' list in Rugby. The fun element of rugby football can also be found with photos of some of rugby's famous streakers, rugby songs and humorous cartoon illustrations.   


Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, a short punt away



The William Webb Ellis are building a collection of famous rugby handprints, the first in this collection is the great Willie John McBride, illustrated right hpr-willie-john.jpg (52161 bytes)


Our contribution to the William Webb Ellis is this fantastic train nameplate from the 1956 Springbok tour of New Zealand.........






Whilst touring New Zealand in 1956 the Springbok rugby team travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand in special trains. There were two different trains used by the tour party, one on the North Island, one on the South.  Each train had a special hand painted headboard attached to the front. This, we believe this to be the South Island signboard. A New Zealand train driver acquired the board once the tour had ended and the NZ railways could find no further use for it. He then added it to his already sizeable rugby memorabilia collection. It remained in his collection until 1995 when purchased it for our "rugby and travel" collection. 

The Springboks arrived in New Zealand having never been defeated in a test series anywhere in the world. In the two previous tours by the Springboks to New Zealand they had drawn one series (1921 - 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw) and won the other (1937 SA 2 wins, NZ 1 win). The tour had already received extensive media coverage with the team having already won 11 out of 11 games in Australia, including two wins over the Wallabies. The Springboks every move was recorded by the New Zealand newspapers, even while in Australia and in the days before the Rugby World Cup the test series was built up to be the "Championship of the World". 

The New Zealand public were confident their heroes in Black would lower the colours of the mighty Springboks, and this confidence grew when the touring side were defeated in their first match against the provincial side Waikato. The South African's then pulled themselves together and won their next 8 games before meeting the All Blacks in the first test at Dunedin. In a bruising encounter and with both teams reduced through injury, New Zealand to 14, South Africa to 13 the All Blacks managed to hold on and win 10 - 6. In the second test South Africa levelled the series with an 8 - 3 win. The garden city, Christchurch hosted the third test which saw the debut of Don Clarke, the great All Black goal kicker. The Waikato man scored 8 points in a 17 - 10 win that saw the All Blacks take a 2 - 1 lead in the series. The crowds flocked to Eden Park, Auckland for the fourth and deciding test in the series to see the All Blacks become the first team to lower the Springboks colours. The All Black forwards won the day with their control in the tight, No 8 Peter Jones scoring a try 5 minutes into the second half and Don Clarke scoring another 8 points with the boot. The Springboks were well beaten and crossed the line to score a consolation try close to the finish, giving New Zealand a winning margin of 11 - 5. The whole of New Zealand celebrated this wonderful victory, at last they had triumphed over their great rivals. 

The photograph on the right is of a group of Springbok players gathered around the name-plate, photo-calls were a regular occurrence for the team as the New Zealand press covered their every move. 

Illustrated top right - Members of the Springbok Rugby team stand beside the sign on the front of the railcar which took them from Auckland to Hamilton at 11.00 a.m. today. They are from left to right on the platform J Pickard, J Nel, and W Rosenberg with R Dryburgh (with hat on) and J Buchler standing on the track.

Illustrated top left - The tour party about to embark on another long train journey following one of their provincial matches. The team was captained by Basie Viviers and managed by the great Danie Craven. In New Zealand leg of the tour, the Springboks played 23 matches, winning 16, losing 6 and sharing the honours in one match during a stay that lasted 3 months.   



After being extensively re-furbished, the William Webb Ellis was re-opened on December 10th 2004. The staff at the William Webb Ellis reflect the globalisation of Rugby Football and hail from rugby playing countries around the globe. In the pictures below they can be seen wearing the jerseys of their home countries. Pulling the first pint was England flanker and rugby legend Neil Back. (pictured below)





Please note, the William Webb Ellis has changed ownership since we launched this page. The memorabilia displayed above can no longer be seen at the pub. We understand the William Webb Ellis is still trading but we have no further information on the pub. please contact the William Webb Ellis directly. Details below.


The William Webb Ellis

22 Warwick Street


CV21 3DN

Tel: 01788 578692


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