How does the IRB Hall of Fame work?

(IRB.COM) Thursday 25 September 2008
 How does the IRB Hall of Fame work?

Since 2006, the IRB has welcomed  a select few who have made an outstanding contribution to the Game into the IRB Hall of Fame. William Webb Ellis, Gareth Edwards and Baron Pierre de Coubertin are three individuals who fit into this category and have already been honoured.

But how does the IRB Hall of Fame work and who decides which individuals deserve entry? Read on to find out.


The main objective of the IRB Hall of Fame is to preserve the Game’s cultural identity, traditions and heritage in the 21st century and beyond.  The Game is played by boys and girls, men and women of all ages, races and creeds in schools, teams, clubs and Unions throughout the world. Since, 1995, in addition to the what is now been called community rugby and after more than a century of amateurism, which has shaped the Game’s underlying philosophy and ethos, rugby has developed a professional elite.

The role of the IRB Hall of Fame within this context is to generate interest in the history and the traditions of the Game, by celebrating its heroes and their achievements past and present. All former players, referees, coaches, administrators, journalists, photographers, commentators, organisations, teams, clubs and Unions who have made telling contributions to the expansion of the Game are eligible to be nominated, providing that they fulfil the IRB HoF criteria for induction.

Eligibility Criteria

Induction into the IRB Hall of Fame is the supreme recognition for achievement in the Game. The induction rewards remarkable feats on the playing field and/or significant lifelong contributions to the development of the Game in coaching, teaching, refereeing, administration, medical and communications. Any of the following are eligible to be nominated for Induction into the IRB Hall of Fame

  • Any male or female player retired from active duty for more than two years
  • Any male or female referee & coach retired from active duty for more than two years Any male or female rugby administrator, official and personality who has made a momentous contribution to the Game.
  • Any organisation - school; team; club; union; charitable trust; etc - that made a telling contribution to the betterment, development and expansion of the Game
  • Any member of the Media (written, photography and TV or Radio), rugby historian, writer and statistician, filmmaker and artist who made a significant contributions to the promotion of the Game in a written or visual form.

The Induction Process

The IRB Hall of Fame was launched in November 2006, with the induction of the cradle of the Game, Rugby School and one of its most celebrated pupils William Webb Ellis. Since 2007 an Induction Panel, made of leading Rugby personalities has been operational.

The IRB Hall of Fame Induction Panel is chaired by the IRB Chairman. The induction process commences with the Induction Panel compiling lists of candidates: for 19th century, 20th century and 21st century. 

The three preliminary lists are published on the IRB web site for public debate and voting. The members of the public may nominate their own candidate, providing that the individual/organisation put forward fulfil the eligibility criteria, in which case the name of the new candidate will be added to the published list. After the end of the public vote, a shortlist of candidates in each category, called the Nominated Semi-finalists is selected by the Panel.

Finally, the a number of Inductees will be elected by the Induction Panel from the list of Nominated Semi-finalists for each category. The names of those inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame will be made public on the IRB Web site on the day of the Induction Gala.