Pathway of fame

Bill Maclagan

(1858-1926) Full Back, Wing, Scotland

Bill Maclagan was both full back and wing for Scotland and struck a refined, imposing figure as he was tall with a large waxed moustache. Maclagan represented Scotland twenty-six times between 1878 and 1890. He was captain eight of these times. He scored two goals and three tries. He captained the pioneering British Isles tour to South Africa in 1891. The side had 100 percent success. He played in eighteen of nineteen matches in which the Lions scored 224 points whilst conceding only one. This was back when a try was worth one point.

Maclagan was a ferocious tackler and an aggressive attacker with a long, accurate touch kick. He played a vital part in establishing London Scottish RUFC as captain and president. He was also SRU president from 1894 to 1896.






Billy Boston

(1934- ) Wing, Centre, Great Britain

Billy Boston played 31 times for Great Britain, scoring 24 tries. He was the highest scorer in two Lions tours to Australia, claiming 36 in 1954. He was the first black player to tour. He scored a remarkable 571 tries in 565 games, 478 of them for Wigan. He transferred from Neath to Wigan in March 1953 after scoring six tries in the Army Cup Final. After only six league games, he was chosen for the 1954 Lions tour. He had scored a century of rugby league tries after only 68 matches, which was still a record in 1999.

He is described in Geoffrey Moorhouse’s Official History of Rugby league as “14st 2lb of blockbusting aggression whose hand off was the most discouraging the game would see until Ellery Handley came along”. He has two stands named after him, at two separate grounds in Wigan.

Brian Bevan

(1924-1991) Wing, Various teams

Brian Bevan was nicknamed the 'Wing Wizard' and played for a variety of different teams over the years, including Warrington, British Empire XIII and Blackpool. He scored 796 tries in 688 rugby league matches, including 100 hat tricks and two games in which he scored seven tries for Warrington. He scored 50 tries or more in nine seasons, including 72 in the 1952-3 season. He arrived in Britain as a stoker on the HMAS Australia in 1945 and went to Warrington where he scored 48 tries in his first season: 1946-7.

During his career, Warrington won three Championships, two Challenge Cups, a Lancashire Cup and six Lancashire League titles. It seems all the more remarkable given this description in Geoffrey Moorhouse’s Official History of Rugby League, “Bald long before his time, knees heavily bandaged to save on wear and tear, false teeth out and cheeks sucked in... noticeable for his lurching walk, he could be mistaken for a broken down old chap who had dreamily wandered on to the pitch from the local twilight home.”

Brian Lochore

(1940- ) Number 8, Lock, New Zealand

Brian Lochore represented the All Blacks in 68 matches, including 24 tests, captaining the side on 18 occasions, winning 15 of them. He toured Britain in 1963-4 and returned four years later as captain when he proved a tremendous ambassador for the game and his country. He scored seven tries in his international career from 1963-71. Lochore led by example with a self-effacing and dignified leadership style. He was incredibly fit, had excellent anticipation and did all the hard graft expected of a back row forward. Terry Maclean gives him the highest accolade. “A great back row forward. New Zealand has fielded none better.” He coached at Masterton and Wairarapa Bush before taking over as All Black coach from 1985-7 when they won the inaugural World Cup. He was also a selector from 1983-7 and campaign manager in the 1995 World Cup.

The Lochore Cup, contested in New Zealand's Heartland Championship, is named in his honour.

Cliff Morgan

(1930-2013) Fly half, Wales

Cliff Morgan sparkled as a person in the same way he did as a marvellously gifted fly half. His impish tales, told in a lilting Rhondda Valley accent became familiar to millions on radio and television and reflected a similar style of play. He played 29 times for Wales between 1951-8, then a record for a fly half, and added to that four Lions appearances on the 1955 South African tour. His natural ball skills complemented a confident manner, superb tackling, brilliant breaks and rapid running.

1953 was a supreme year. He was in the Cardiff team that beat the All Blacks and followed it with a fabulous display when Wales did the same. He captained Wales to the Five Nations crown in 1956.

An incomparable commentator, he was at the microphone for ‘that’ try in the Barbarians’ fixture against New Zealand in 1973.

Colby Slater

Colby Slater was nicknamed ‘Babe’ after the famous baseball player, Babe Ruth. He was the Skipper of the United States team which won the gold medal in the Paris Olympics of 1924. At the 1924 Paris Games, he captained the team that beat France 8-0 in the final. The disappointed French fans rioted in the stands. Rugby has never featured in the Olympic Games since, but will return in the seven-a-side format at Rio in 2016.

Coach Charlie Austin and manager, Sam Goodman did a brilliant job with the USA team, many of whom had never played rugby before.  Their superb fitness paid dividends as they claimed a highly unexpected 17 points to three win. It was so unpopular that the team needed police protection on leaving Stade Colombes.

Colin Meads

(1936- 2017) Lock, loose forward, New Zealand

Universally known as ‘Pine Tree’, Meads was not big by modern standards, weighing 16 stone and standing at 6 ft 4” tall. He was, however, incredibly determined, aggressive, fit and very mobile for a man so tall.

He played 133 times for New Zealand, including 55 tests, scoring 86 points from 28 tries and a conversion. He began his international career as a flanker in 1957 but quickly made his reputation as an immovable second row. He played at the top level for 14 seasons, finishing with the disappointment of defeat by the Lions in 1971. Fergie McCormick described him as “a terrible man with the silver fern on. He regarded the All Black jersey as pure gold. …he stood alone as the greatest player I have ever known”.

His record of 361 first class matches is a New Zealand record. Meads was named the country's Player of the Century at the NZRFU Awards in 1999.

Danie Craven

(1910-1993) Utility, South Africa

Anyone given the nickname ‘Mr Rugby’ must have made a huge impact on the game. For Daniel Hartman Craven, this is an understatement. Danie, also popularly known as ‘Doc’, played with the Springboks in four different positions over a seven year international career that ended prematurely in 1938. His dive pass was renowned, his tactical sense supreme.

After retiring, he quickly established himself as an equally brilliant coach. He coached the Springboks on their 1951-2 British Isles tour and managed the 1956 tour of Australasia. As an administrator, he was second to none.

President of the South African Rugby Board for 34 years and their IRB (now named World Rugby) member, he is best remembered for his tireless work to destroy racial barriers and bring South African sport back onto the world stage. Happily, he lived long enough to see the end of apartheid.

David Campese

David Campese, or ‘Campo’ was the world’s highest international try-scorer, holding the world record for the most tries in test matches up until Daisuke Ohata scored his 65th try playing for Japan on 14 May 2006. The ultimate rugby risk-taker, his egg-and-spoon, cupped handling style has earned him the affection of crowds the world over.

Outspoken comments may have occasionally brought him bad press but with a rugby ball in his hands David Campese was a genius. His attitude is summed up in one terse comment, “People don’t want to watch someone kicking the ball all day”. He made his international debut as an unknown 18 year old against New Zealand in 1982 and his goose-stepping style soon brought the first of many tries. He became the Wallabies’ highest capped player in 1990 and was a vital member of the World Cup winning team in 1991, scoring six and becoming player of the tournament. At the end of his international career he had gained 101 caps and scored 64 tries in internationals. He has set up rugby academies throughout the world, where he still coaches.

Derek Bevan

(1949- ) Flanker, Referee, Wales
The story behind the plaque

Derek Bevan is not only the world record holder for controlling the highest number of international matches, but one of the most highly respected referees in the world, and has a great affinity with players. He is one of only four referees, Jim Fleming (Scotland), David Bishop (New Zealand) and Steve Hilditch (Ireland) to have officiated in all three World Cups.

He fulfilled an ambition to referee every top class rugby nation when he controlled the two tests between Argentina and South Africa in 1993 and followed that with a Varsity match at Twickenham later in the year. He has also been in charge of a record number of Welsh Cup Finals, has refereed at the World Cup Sevens, Dubai Sevens, two Student World Cup finals and the 1997 European Cup final.

England Win Rugby World Cup

The story behind the plaque

They did it! Pessimists doubted England would ever win the Rugby World Cup and certainly did not expect them to when the tournament was staged in the southern hemisphere.

In the 2003 finals in Australia, England ran up a stack of points against Georgia but the underrated Samoans ran them close. However, England’s victory over South Africa by 25 points to 6 in the third pool match was their “statement of intent”. In the quarter-final Wales were seen off by Jonny Wilkinson’s boot before England played their best football of the tournament in their semi-final defeat of France, 24-7. In a nail-biting final against Australia, England broke the deadlock with a drop goal in extra time to take the William Webb Ellis trophy 20-17 against dogged hosts.

Australia’s coach was magnanimous in defeat, “The better team won. There’s no doubt about that. England deserve their moment because of the work they’ve put in, the coaching, and the character of the players”.

The Rugby World Cup had come not a moment too soon, as age, retirement and injury took their toll on this fine England squad. Three-quarters of a million people lined the streets of London in early December 2003 to cheer their heroes. The World Cup was back where the game began 180 years earlier.

England Win Women’s Rugby World Cup

This plaque commemorates the England team winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup on August 17th 2014. Captained by Emily Scarratt, The Red Roses won 21-9 over Canada with tries by Scarratt and Danielle Waterman.

Many members of the team took unpaid leave from their regular jobs to play in the tournament which took place in France, with the final played in the Stade Jean-Bouin with a crowd close to the 22,000 capacity of the stadium. It was the first time England had won the cup since 1994.

The world cup winning team were invited to the birthplace of the game in December 2014, when they were awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Rugby in recognition of their achievement.

The next Women’s Rugby World Cup will be held in Ireland in 2017.

Fakahau Valu

Fakahau Valu was a member of the Tongan international XV which completed an historic 16-11 win over Australia in 1973. Fifteen years later he was still in his country’s team when they made a big impression in the 1987 World Cup finals. Although they lost their three pool matches, it was the manner of their performance, (especially in losing by only 29-16 to Wales), that endeared Valu and his other veteran team mates Kutusi Fielea and Polutele Tuihalamaka to the spectators.

Following Tonga’s Triangular South Pacific championship win in 1986, Valu was playing in his fifteenth consecutive season when he made his World Cup appearance, scoring his side’s only try in their opening game against Canada. Valu epitomised his countrymen’s approach during their first overseas tour to Britain in 1974. “Modest and dignified” were words often used to describe the side.

He coached Tonga at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

First Women’s Rugby World Cup

The story behind the plaque

Only four years after its male counterpart, the first Women’s Rugby World Cup took place in Cardiff. It was remarkable since the most organised women’s rugby union, the WRFU (of England and Wales) had only existed for eight years. Cardiff was host city because the City Council was prepared to offer support to a tournament shunned by others.

Twelve teams took part, all paying their own way for the duration of an eight day tournament. The finalists, USA and England, had to play five matches in that period. The other competitors were Wales, Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and USSR. The Russians arrived with no money and sold vodka to pay their way.

USA defeated England in the final, having beaten New Zealand in the semi- finals. Both beaten countries went on to win the trophy themselves, England in 2000 and New Zealand in 2003. England won again in 2014.

First World Cup

The story behind the plaque

The concept of a World Cup in an amateur sport had long been greeted with scepticism. The tournament’s inception was thanks to those, particularly from the southern hemisphere, who fought long and hard for it. The competition was staged jointly by New Zealand and Australia with 16 nations invited.

The first game took place at Eden Park, Auckland where the hosts beat Italy 70-6. They were back a month later with France as the opponents to decide the destiny of the Webb Ellis Cup. New Zealand, captained by David Kirk, won 29-9 in a match expertly refereed by Australian, Kerry Fitzgerald. Tries from Kirk, John Kirwan and Michael Jones were added to by Grant Fox’s four penalties, a conversion and a drop goal. For France, Pierre Berbizier scored a try with Didier Camberabero claiming a penalty and conversion.

Foundation of Rugby League

The story behind the plaque

This plaque commemorates the foundation of Rugby League in 1895. The league officially began at a meeting of twenty-one delegates from northern rugby clubs. They met at the George Hotel in Huddersfield on 29 August 1895. Twenty of them went on to form the Northern Rugby Football Union, including St Helens and Wigan. However, the seeds of a breakaway had been sown earlier over the issue of payments to players. The Rugby Football Union consistently refused to sanction any payment to compensate for wages lost whilst playing. These were known as ‘broken time payments.’

Although many players in northern clubs were working men who lost money by playing rugby, the RFU was determined to ensure the game remained entirely amateur. Their refusal to allow any payment led directly to the breakaway of the Northern Union. The Northern Union was officially renamed Rugby League in 1922 in order to achieve consistency with Australia and New Zealand. 

Gareth Edwards

The story behind the plaque

What is arguably the game’s greatest try was scored for the Barbarians against New Zealand in 1973 by one of the world’s greatest players, Gareth Edwards. He represented his country on a record 53 consecutive occasions after winning his first cap as a teenager. However, no statistics can do justice to the complete player - he had exceptional skill, great pace, terrific power, especially from close range, and tactical acumen which was second to none.

His 12 season international career included three Welsh Grand Slams, the Triple Crown and the Five Nations championship. He added a record 10 Lions appearances, including series wins against New Zealand and South Africa in 1971 and 1974.

Gareth Rees

Additional summary info
(1967- ) Fly half, Fullback, Canada
The story behind the plaque

Gareth Rees gained his first international cap at the age of only 18 and has been a regular member of the team ever since. His place kicking and his drop kicking have always been assets, as has the strength of his midfield running.

He played in the 1987 World Cup, scoring 15 of his side’s 19 points against Argentina. He was again ever present in the 1991 competition when Canada won many friends in a quarter-final defeat by New Zealand. He was captain of the 1995 squad which finished third in their pool.

The most capped Canadian, he began an English career whilst a Harrow schoolboy, playing in their cup final defeat in 1986. He returned for two more finals, eventually lifting the cup against Newcastle in 1999.

Gavin Hastings

(1969- ) Full back, Scotland

The story behind the plaque

A great ambassador for the game, Gavin Hastings was first capped for Scotland in 1986 against France alongside another debutant, his brother Scott. Gavin scored all the points in an 18-17 win. In 61 Scottish internationals he scored a phenomenal 676 points, a northern hemisphere record. Cool and collected in defence and forceful in attack, he became a natural leader. He captained Scotland 20 times before leading the British Lions in all three tests in New Zealand in 1993. He and Scott became the first brothers to play together in Lions’ tests.

His kicking prowess was apparent from his first international where he scored all 18 points against France. It was the first of many point-scoring performances. His greatest moment in a Scotland jersey came with the Grand Slam title in 1990 after a famous 13-7 win over England.