5 things you didn't know about Manchester and Rugby Union

Manchester has a strong history of rugby in the region and that’s why we can’t wait to bring the O2 Touch Tour to Manchester on Saturday 11 July, with Jonny Wilkinson and local hero Jason Robinson in tow showing us how it’s done.

Here are a few Manchester-related rugby facts to get you up to scratch on the rugby heritage of the North:

  1. Manchester Rugby Club is actually one of the oldest clubs in the entire world, founded in 1860 as Manchester Football Club, which means most of the earliest England players came from Manchester.
  1. One of these early rugby pioneers was Albert Neilson Hornby who became the first ever player to captain both England Rugby and Cricket (what a guy!). Unfortunately for him, he was captaining the cricket team when England lost to Australia for the first time. So we also have Albert to thank for The Ashes test matches.
  1. The first ever club game of rugby was played in Manchester in 1857 between the gentlemen of Manchester and Liverpool and was advertised as “Rugby vs the World”. No one recorded the result of the match, although rumour has it there were five goals scored, so one team must have won – we’ll let you decide who it was.
  1. Manchester has strong ties with the Rugby Football Union, with some members of the club going on to become President of the RFU. If you’re an aspiring President, maybe get yourself to Manchester!
  1. Sale Sharks RFC are based in Manchester, and are one of the leading professional Rugby Union clubs in Europe and the pride of the North West. The club have had many successful England players wear the Sales colours, including England Rugby legends Mark Cueto and Jason Robinson and current England player Danny Cipriani, as well as loads of famed international players like Sebastian Chabal of France.

We can’t wait to see what you’ve got Manchester when the O2 Touch Tour comes to town!

We’ll be bringing our A-game with England players Mark Cueto and Sarah Hunter, alongside Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Robinson, and XFM’s Tim Cocker who will be hosting the whole event. And if that wasn’t enough there will be DJs, great food and loads of activities to get involved with on the day.

Watch our video from the O2 Touch Tour Bath to get a taste of what you can expect at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 11 July.

If you already count yourself as a bit of a pro, why not sign a team up to take part in the O2 Touch Tour tournament and show Jonny and Jason your skills? Head to o2touch.co.uk to grab yourself a team ticket now or sign up for a free Touch Rugby taster session and see what all the fuss is about. And if you fancy just being a spectator to a great day of sport, we’ve got free tickets for that too!

Sign up now at o2touch.co.uk

Not from Manchester? We’re heading to London on Sunday 26th July for the final stop on the O2 Touch Tour. Sign up now to make sure you don’t miss out.

Find out how you can support England Rugby on o2.co.uk/weartherose