2013 Inductee: Robert Seddon & 1888 team

(IRB.COM) Monday 18 November 2013

IRB Hall of Fame - Induction No.62 - Robert Lionel Seddon (1860-1888) and the 1888 "English" footballers

One of 11 legends inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in Dublin on 18 November 2013.

Born: 1860 in Salford
Died: 1888 in an accident in West Maitland, Australia
International career:  1886-1888
Position: forward
Nickname: Bob

One hundred and twenty-five years have passed since the 1888 tour of Australia and New Zealand by a team selected from the British Isles – the first ever rugby tour from the Home Unions to the southern hemisphere, a pioneering venture which had a significant impact on the establishment and expansion of the Game in the then colonies and the world. Twenty-seven-year old England forward Seddon, who had won three caps in 1887 (against Wales, Ireland and Scotland), was elected captain of the touring side, a private venture organised and managed by three leading England cricketers and promoters Alfred Shaw, Arthur Shrewsbury and James Lillywhite. The team, who were denied official status by the Rugby Football Union, left Britain on 8 March 1888 and returned home eight months later, on 11 November 1888. The 20-strong selection, known as “the English footballers” – despite in fact being a combination of English, Scottish and Welsh – played a total of 53 matches of which 35 were rugby football and 18 Victorian football (Australian Rules). They won 27 of the 35 rugby matches, with six draws and only two defeats, though no Test match as such was played. During their stay in Queensland, Seddon tragically died in a boating accident on River Hunter at West Maitland and Andrew Stoddart, a famous cricketer and rugby player, took over the captaincy.

A full profile will appear in due course.