After the Final Whistle
Author: Stephen Cooper (Trinity 1977)
Publisher: The History Press
When Britain’s Empire went to war in August 1914, rugby players were the first to volunteer: they led from the front and paid a disproportionate price. When Armistice came after four long years, their war game was over; even as the echo of the last guns of November faded, it was time to play rugby again. As Allied troops of all nations waited to return home, sport occupied their minds and bodies. In 1919, a grateful Mother Country hosted a rugby tournament which would travel throughout the land: sevens teams at eight venues, playing 17 matches to declare a first ‘world champion’, winner of the King’s Cup, presented by George V at Twickenham Stadium. This is the story of rugby’s journey through the First World War to its first World Cup, and how its values forged in war endure today.