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Administrative / Biographical history

Rugby was apparently first played at Eton in 1896, when on 31 January W. Dudley Ward's side played that of B.O. Bircham. There were regular matches that half but while the game seems to have been played occasionally it was not seen as a regular part of Eton sporting life. In 1907 there are references in The Chronicle to an attempt being made "to establish the Rugby game on a firm footing during the Easter half" and a fixture with Harrow was already a feature by that date. Certainly subsequent Chronicles report regular games (which Eton almost always lost by a large margin) with other schools and outside teams and there was a School Rugby Team rather than a succession of scratches. Choices were being awarded by 1916, however only some 60 or 70 boys played. This number increased slowly, but with only the Lent half available little progress could be made, especially when the most senior players often left at Christmas after 7th term Oxbridge entrance. It was not until 1971 that rugby and soccer were admitted to the Michaelmas half, displacing the Field Game to the Lent.


1971 - 1995
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