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Proud home welcomes new public art for rugby's bicentenary

A NEW piece of public art celebrating Rugby's status as the birthplace of the game looks set to be unveiled next week.

The Try
Environmental artist Tony Davies' sketch of The Try, a new piece of public art commissioned to mark the bicentenary of rugby union. Published Thursday, 16th March 2023

The Try was created by environmental artist Tony Davies and was commissioned by Rugby Borough Council to mark the bicentenary of rugby union.

The wire sculpture depicting a rugby player diving over the try line to score follows in the footsteps of The Pass, The Kick and The Tackle, a hat-trick of sculptures commissioned by the council to celebrate the Rugby World Cup 2015.

The Pass stands on the Whitehall Road roundabout and The Kick on the Coventry Road roundabout, while The Tackle takes pride of place on Leicester Road.

Work to install The Try on the Evreux Way roundabout looks set to be completed next week.

The bicentenary celebrations for the birth of the game of rugby football officially kicked off in February on The Close at Rugby School, where 200 years ago William Webb Ellis displayed his 'fine disregard for the rules of football' by taking the ball in his hands and running with it. 

Rugby School has a packed programme of events to mark the bicentenary, including a cycle pilgrimage from The Close to Twickenham and a bid to break the record for the world's largest scrum.

In partnership with the school, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum hosts an exhibition later this year charting the development of the game over 200 years, while an art competition has been launched to find designs to feature on a giant rugby ball sculpture in the town centre.

The council has decorated the town centre with lamppost banners marking the bicentenary and has added 'Bicentenary of the Game - 1823-2023' plates to the 'Welcome to Rugby' signs on main routes into the borough.

The council's celebrations also include a school tag rugby tournament and a new plaque marking the bicentenary on the town centre's Pathway of Fame, which honours legendary players and major milestones in rugby.

Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for leisure and wellbeing, said: "The bicentenary puts the birthplace and proud home of the game in the global spotlight in a year which promises to be spectacular for fans of rugby union.

"In addition to Rugby School's full calendar of bicentenary celebrations and the council's programme of community events and commemorations, the Rugby World Cup kicks-off in France in September, with 20 teams competing for the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.

"And on the eve of the Women's Six Nations, it's fitting we can unveil a new piece of public art to mark the bicentenary which depicts a woman rugby player diving over the try line to score."

For more information on Rugby School's bicentenary celebrations, visit

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