- Corry, Dallaglio, Leonard among those lining up to support charity match
- Game will raise funds for the RFU Injured Players Foundation and the IRFU Charitable Trust
As England gear up to face the challenge of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, another group of players will throw down the gauntlet this weekend when England Legends take on their Irish counterparts to raise money for injured players.
Former England greats including Jason Leonard, Laurence Dallaglio and Josh Lewsey will face an Ireland Legends team at Dublin's Donnybrook Stadium on Saturday, February 9 (7:30pm) that includes British and Irish Lions David Wallace, Shane Byrne and Malcolm O'Kelly among other well-known names.
The teams will compete for The Stuart Mangan Trophy in honour of former Hammersmith and Fulham RFC player Stuart Mangan, who sustained serious injuries while playing in 2008 and who passed away in 2009.
Saturday's team will be captained by 2003 World Cup winner Martin Corry and the game itself will raise funds for the RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF) and the IRFU Charitable Trust. Speaking about the Legends match, former England captain Corry said: "It's played in the right spirit. Pretty much everyone who's taking the field now played rugby as amateurs and this is what amateur rugby is all about. You play hard but it's very social afterwards."
On the motivations for Saturday's match, Corry said: "We’ve raised over a quarter of a million pounds for the various charities, which is beyond everyone’s wildest dreams."
The meeting of England and Ireland Legends promises to be both entertaining and a great night out for rugby lovers, as emphasised by Will Greenwood: "The Legends games are wonderful games to be a part of. A few Old Boys who’ve got a few caps to their name, a few triple crowns, a few grand slams, the occasional World Cup thrown in, and they come together and play against old pals that they played against years ago, when it really, really mattered.
"Now it’s bragging rights, it’s the opportunity to go out in Dublin on that night with your old pals to the same old haunts and go, ‘Yeah, still got it’."
He added: "They’re wonderful occasions, the fans get right behind them. It’s just an outstanding evening."
A special curtain raiser will be played at 5pm, when Hammersmith and Fulham RFC take on local Irish side Bective Rangers at their ground, next door to Donnybrook Stadium. The Hammersmith and Fulham side will feature three of Stuart's brothers, John, Keith and Barry.
The club's veterans' president, Chris Hunt, has emphasised the significance of the Legends game: "This match means a huge amount to Hammersmith and Fulham because the Legends are playing for The Stuart Mangan Memorial Trophy. Stuart was tragically injured playing for Hammersmith and Fulham in 2008. We had the idea of Hammersmith and Fulham playing a curtain raiser in front of the next Legends match, and we’re hoping to have raised over £25,000 for the Legends’ charities."
Follow @therugbycharity or visit www.rfuipf.org.uk to learn more about the IPF.
For more information on the game go to www.irelandenglandlegends.com or to buy tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.ie.