The late Alfred St. George Hamersley, one of Rugby’s first internationals, has been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.
IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper made the presentation of the IRB Hall of Fame cap and pin to Marlborough College (England), where Hamersley was educated and first played ‘football’ under the interpretation of Rugby School rules.
One of life’s great achievers, Hamersley was a barrister by profession and later became an MP in his home county of Oxfordshire.
Having established a reputation as a powerful forward, Hamersley was selected by England to play in the first-ever international against Scotland at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on March 27, 1871. Scotland won by one goal and one try to one try.
Hamersley went on to captain England in the last of his four appearances in 1874, the same year that he emigrated to New Zealand to practise law.
Once settled, he helped to establish the South Canterbury Football Club. In 2010 the local senior men’s competition named its trophy The Hamersley Cup in honour of one of its Union’s founding fathers. Its inscription reads: “Presented in recognition of Alfred St George Hamersley and his pioneering contribution to South Canterbury Rugby 1875”.
After 15 years in New Zealand the Hamersley family moved to Canada where he continued his sporting missionary work.
His love of Rugby led him to join Vancouver Football Rugby Club and become the first President of the British Columbia Rugby Union in 1889.
On his return to England in 1905 he remained involved in Rugby and was instrumental in helping to form the Oxfordshire Nomads Rugby Union Football Club in 1909, which was later to become Oxford RFC.
Hamersley served his country as a Lieutenant General in the Great War. He died in 1929, aged 80.
Gosper said: “It is an honour to be making this presentation on behalf of the global Rugby family to induct one of its visionaries and true pioneers to join the prestigious IRB Hall of Fame.”
“Alfred St. George Hamersley had such a profound impact on the development of the Game in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, establishing Rugby clubs and epitomising Rugby’s character-building values of solidarity, passion and respect that have played a central role in Rugby’s growth and prosperity.”
Jonathan Leigh, Master of Marlborough College added: “Marlborough College is pleased to be associated with the induction of Alfred St. George Hamersley into the IRB Hall of Fame. As one of the earliest schools to play Rugby, it is both fitting and an honour to have had an England captain of such distinction who later served his country with such dedication.”