Legends set to rekindle the magic
Rugby World Cup has given us many unforgettable memories over the years. The magic of players like Serge Blanco and David Campese in 1987 and 1991, the young Jonah Lomu bursting onto the world stage at RWC 1995, and the nail-biting finish at RWC 2011.
But for England there is one day in particular that stands head and shoulders above the rest – 22 November 2003, the day that England beat hosts Australia 20-17 after extra time in the RWC 2003 Final.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of that breath-taking final, there will be an England Legends v Australia Legends match in London on Thursday, 31 October.
In what is certain to be a highly charged and competitive match, both teams will boast an array of former Rugby World Cup stars and a combined total of more than 1,450 Test caps.
England will have the likes of Jason Leonard, Martin Corry, Jason Robinson, Phil Vickery and Josh Lewsey in their ranks, and come face to face with an Australian team including Stirling Mortlock, Al Baxter, Chris Whitaker and Richard Harry.
These players will be dusting off their boots to raise funds for two important charities, Restart and The Injured Players’ Foundation.
The match will mark the start of a truly memorable weekend of celebrations marking 10 years since that unforgettable night when Martin Johnson lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in Sydney.
England’s most capped player Leonard said: “We are delighted that so many of the boys have leapt at the chance to pull on an England shirt again and honoured that Australian legends are travelling halfway around the world to compete and help us put on an unique, never-to-be-repeated event.
“We will be raising valuable funds for the nominated rugby charities and it’ll be a great night for any England rugby fan, as well as all our Aussie mates over in the UK.”
Australia coach Mike Doyle added: “We have been overwhelmed by the interest of the former Wallaby players that we have contacted to be part of this incredible journey. We, as Australian Legends, have a proud history and to be given the chance to redeem the loss is a huge motivation for us.”
Huge credit should be given to the visiting Australians who will be travelling across the world to celebrate a RWC final that they lost to England on home soil, it is a gesture which epitomises the unique values of rugby.
With two years to go until RWC 2015 kicks off in England, legends and current players alike will be turning their attentions to rugby’s showpiece event. Both teams have been drawn together in Pool A at the tournament and this time round Australia will no doubt be aiming to make amends for their agonising defeat in the RWC 2003 final.
Sportingclass will be organising the England v Australia Legends match on behalf of the two Rugby-based charities. For information on how to get tickets, please visit Restart, the rugby players charity.
As well as the legends game, to find out about the England Legends anniversary dinner click here.
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