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March and Wisbech will be able to celebrate 150 years of rugby

Rugby clubs across the area will still get their chance to mark the 150th anniversary of their sport’s governing body despite the lack of competitive action this season.

March Bears and Wisbech have both faced lengthy spells on the sidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Their Eastern Counties League campaigns were cancelled last year while plans for a cluster competition were scuppered by the third national lockdown.

March Bears in action last January.
March Bears in action last January.

However, Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney hopes clubs can still celebration the memorable milestone when the restrictions are lifted.

He said: “One hundred and fifty years of rugby union in England is a momentous landmark and is taking place during one of the most challenging times in our history.

“I do not think anybody could have predicted that the RFU would see out its 150th anniversary in the midst of a global pandemic.

“The recent challenges have shone a light on the spirit and strength of rugby union but the community game is more than a game, it’s a network, it’s a family, a way of life and it will continue to thrive across England for the next 150 years and beyond.

“I look forward to celebrating with the grassroots game and fans at a later date.”

The RFU was formed in 1871 at the Pall Mall Restaurant on London’s Regent Street after a meeting between representatives from 21 clubs, many of which are still in existence today.

RFU President Jeff Blackett commented: “I am immensely proud to be the President of the Rugby Football Union in our 150th anniversary season.

“The RFU and rugby in England has such a rich history and it is thanks to the vast amount of work put in by people within the rugby community all over the country.

“These are extraordinary times but we are lucky to have such dedicated volunteers.

“I would like to pay tribute to all who give so much of their time and expend so much emotional energy so that our young men and women can continue to play the game that we all love.

“We look forward to marking this special anniversary this year in honour of them.”

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