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Laws of Rugby Netball

Clayton Account from Marriot Scrapbook

Photo: World Rugby Museum

July’s object of the month is a newspaper clipping recently discovered in one of the scrapbooks in our library. The article, titled ‘The First International: The Game of Other Days’, contains an interview with J.H. Clayton who represented England in the first ever international rugby match in 1871. It outlines Clayton’s rugby career from a schoolboy up until his international involvement.

It includes details of how he trained for the international match, why he thinks England lost, and the necessity of ‘hacking’ in a thirty-man scrum. Also of interest is the description of Clayton himself – described as having ‘grown into a very big, strong fellow of 17 or 18 stone’ by the time of this match. The museum collection includes Clayton’s jersey from 1871, and it is remarkable that someone of his reputed size could have fitted into something so small!

Clayton’s jersey features in a new display at the museum, ‘Rugby Jerseys: A Continuing Evolution’ that opens on July 8th. The exhibition explores the ways in which rugby jerseys have changed since the early days of the sport.


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