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News > Rugby School News > 'Birthplace of Rugby' turf goes on sale

'Birthplace of Rugby' turf goes on sale

A once in a lifetime opportunity has arisen to buy turf from this historic pitch where the game of rugby was born.
The beautiful grass of The Close
The beautiful grass of The Close

The public are being offered the chance to buy a piece of history as 20,000 sq m of turf from Rugby School’s famous Close goes on sale.

The Close is the very site where William Webb Ellis took the ball in his arms and ran with it, inventing the game of rugby back in 1823 and is still used for home matches today.

This iconic ground is still in its natural state and the turf in pristine condition. However, with the increasing extremes in UK weather it is clear that underground work needs to be done including installation of high quality drainage and sprinkler systems.

This significant investment will futureproof and protect the site to ensure it can be safely used for matches and enjoyed by visitors for many years to come. The work, due to be carried out last year, but postponed due to Covid, has now become urgent in order for it to be finished ahead of the 2023 bicentenary of the game when the School’s celebrations will feature an exciting calendar of national and international matches.

Head Groundsman, James Mead and his team have spent countless hours caring for The Close to ensure the turf has stayed in the best condition possible.

“In the 18 years I have looked after this historic ground, we have never had a match abandoned, but that will not be the case if we don’t invest in it now,” he said.

“We have taken great care to ensure the visual impact of site will remain, but below ground new drainage and sand layers will add stability and ensure we can maintain the quality of the turf whatever the weather or the fixture.

“With regard to selling the existing turf, we had the option of digging it in or giving people the chance to buy it,” he added.

The organic turf, which has been meticulously cared for without the use pesticides, is now on sale in 1m sq rolls via the Rugby School online shop where details of prices and collection arrangements throughout March can be found.

Turf is also being incorporated into paperweights which can be pre-ordered via the shop.

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