January 26 – This Day in Rugby

Meeting at the Pall Mall

Rugby experienced the game’s first growth spurt at the end of the 19th century and with the increase in the number of teams and players came with it different sets of rules for different regions in England so on this day in rugby history in 1871 21 club representatives meet at the Pall Mall restaurant in London to discuss and agree on a unified set of rules.

Representatives from Blackheath, Richmond, Ravenscourt Park, West Kent, Marlborough Nomads, Wimbledon Hornets, Gipsies, Civil Service, Law Club, Wellington College, Guy’s Hospital, Flamingoes, Clapham Rovers, Harlequin F.C., King’s College, St Paul’s, Queen’s House, Lausanne, Addison, Mohicans, and Belsize Park attended the meeting.

The Wasps representative was absent, however, but legend has it that he showed up at another restaurant with the same name and by the time he discovered the error was too drunk so decided to stay put.

The meeting was the culmination of the call to action by Edwin Ash of Richmond and Benjamin Burns of Blackheath who took out an advertisement in The Times calling for a standard set of rules.

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