Twelve legends of the game, including Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll, will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at a special ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the physical visitor experience in Rugby, England this Thursday.
Four England players, three Welshmen, a Scot, an Irishman, a Japanese legend, an Australian and a Canadian will be honoured at the ceremony, which will also be attended by a host of other rugby luminaries as the Hall of Fame establishes a physical home for the very first time.
The full list of new inductees (with induction number and country) is:
Brian O’Driscoll (121, Ireland), Shane Williams (122, Wales), Jeremy Guscott (123, England), Lawrence Dallaglio (124, England), Heather Moyse (125, Canada), John Dawes (126, Wales), GPS Macpherson (127, Scotland), Arthur Gould (128, Wales), Jonny Wilkinson (129, England), Daniel Carroll (130, Australia and USA), Daisuke Ohata (131, Japan) and Maggie Alphonsi (132, England).
World Rugby Hall of Fame – Induction No. 121 – Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster, Barbarians, Ireland, British & Irish Lions) 1979-
Born: January 21, 1979 in Dublin, Ireland
Ireland’s all-time record try scorer and caps holder with 46 tries in 133 Test appearances from 1999 to 2014.
Brian O’Driscoll made his Ireland debut against Australia in June 1999, but it was a sensational hat-trick in a famous Irish win over France in Paris the following year that really made the rugby world sit up and take notice.
Forging an outstanding midfield partnership with Gordon D’Arcy, O’Driscoll had the lot as a centre – power, pace and footwork in attack and the ability to win turnovers in defence with his strong presence over the ball.
The Dublin native and loyal Leinster man also won eight caps for the Lions over a career that spanned four tours, scoring a breathtaking try on debut against Australia at Brisbane in 2001. He captained the side four years later before injury curtailed his involvement. In 2009, O’Driscoll, a three-time IRB Player of the Year nominee, led Ireland to their first Grand Slam in 61 years.
Confirmation of the class of 2016 takes the grand total of inductees to 132 with each celebrated and profiled within a physical experience in the birthplace of the game that will be fully interactive, immersive and delivered in multiple languages.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont, who will be in attendance at the induction ceremony this week, said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.
“The latest set of inductions includes some real legends, players who have helped to shape the image of rugby and inspire generations of fans. They are truly some of the biggest names in our sport and all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top level rugby over the decades. Each of these 12 inductees has made a positive impression on the sport that will last the test of time.
“While the Hall of Fame has been in existence for some years, it is exciting that finally it will have a permanent home and fitting that it should be in the town that gave our game its name, Rugby. The physical Hall of Fame will be a wonderful focal point for the game and will attract fans from all over the world to relive the great exploits of rugby’s most prominent and talented individuals.”
For more information about the World Rugby Hall of Fame and profiles of the inductees, click here.
For members of the public, the World Rugby Hall of Fame opens as a physical attraction in Rugby, England at 10am this Friday. Entry is free but can be booked in advance here.