Horse riding was Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite sport. However, the Queen also had strong links with Twickenham Stadium and rugby.
All domestic rugby matches in Scotland, where the Queen died, have been suspended, including the Glasgow Warriors’ friendly against Ulster, which was due to kick-off this evening.
Last night, the Premiership Rugby Cup match between Northampton and Saracens was abandoned.
The start of the Premiership Rugby season has been delayed, with Friday’s matches between West Country rivals Bristol and Bath at Ashton Gate and Sale against Northampton rearranged for Saturday and Sunday.
All other games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday will go ahead.
The Championship fixture between Sheffield Eagles and Dewsbury Rams due to take place today was also postponed.
The Rugby Super League has announced its Super League Elimination Play-Off in Perpignan will still go ahead. The Catalan Dragons and Leeds Rhino players will wear black armbands and a minute’s silence will be respected.
The Queen was no stranger to celebrating rugby events. In 1993, Twickenham Stadium completed its new East Stand, which accommodated 25,000 seats. This followed the opening of a new South Stand in 1981 and new North Stand in 1991.
She was introduced to the players by England team captain Will Carling, though Wales went on to win the Championship.
Carling tweeted that he was honoured to have met the Queen numerous times: “She was such an impressive person, her reign is testament to that and the over powering respect the world had for her.”
“What a life, what an example.”
Though Catherine, Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, has been the patron of English rugby since February 2022, taking over from Prince Harry, the Queen’s involvement with rugby was unparalleled. She served as the rugby league’s patron until 2016, with the national anthem regularly sung before matches.
In a tribute to the Queen, England Rugby tweeted:
Rugby Football League chair Simon Johnson said: “On behalf of the RFL and the whole Rugby League family, I express our deepest and most sincere condolences on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“The whole sport is in deep mourning at this extremely sad news.
“Rugby League was honoured to have her as our patron until 2016, and throughout her long reign, Her Majesty’s sense of duty and commitment, her spirit and wisdom has been an example to all of us.”
Featured image: Diliff @ Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) – resized to 800 x 500