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Rugby pioneer Hammersley honoured by IRB
06:39 AEST Fri Jan 11 2013

The late Alfred St George Hamersley, one of rugby union's first internationals and also a pioneer of the sport in New Zealand and Canada, 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 in 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 and in 2010 the local senior competition named its trophy The Hamersley Cup.

After 15 years in New Zealand the Hamersley family moved to Canada where he joined the Vancouver Football Rugby Club and became first president of the British Columbia Rugby Union in 1889.

On his return to England in 1905 he 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 WWI and 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."