Stamp of approval: Royal Mail commemorates rugby legends
Men and women from Welsh rugby have been immortalised on a new set of Royal Mail stamp which will be released on 19 October.
The eight new stamps celebrate the 150th anniversaries of the formation of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the first international match between England and Scotland in 1871.
Wales and British & Irish Lions legend JPR Williams, former Wales Women’s captain Mellissa Berry and Ireland international Sophie Spence who is currently a World Rugby coaching intern with Wales Women, all feature on eight new stamps released by Royal Mail which celebrate moments from iconic men’s and women’s rugby union matches.
The WRU shared it’s delight at the stamps tweeting: “Seal of approval! JPR Williams, Mellissa Berry and Sophie Spence honoured on special series of Royal Mail stamps that celebrate rugby union with striking images of some of the most iconic men’s and women’s matches”.
📧Seal of approval
JPR Williams, Mellissa Berry and Sophie Spence honoured on special series of @RoyalMail stamps that celebrates rugby union with striking images of some of the most iconic men's and women's matches
FULL STORY 👉 https://t.co/lVFXFbFmR7 🙌 pic.twitter.com/FLjg0HIbut
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) October 6, 2021
One stamp features the Women’s Six Nations Championship in 2009, depicting Melissa Berry as captain of Wales in the game in which Non Evans kicked the final minute winning penalty, leading to the team beating England 16-15 and going home with the Triple Crown.
JPR Williams is shown in the 1970 Five Nations Championship, a victory marking the start of a glorious era in Welsh rugby for a side featuring greats like Gareth Edwards and Mervyn Davies.
Former Ireland international Sophie Spence represented her country 40 times, featured in two Rugby World Cups (2014 and 2017), and was also part of the Women’s Six Nations title winning sides in 2013 and 2015.
She is now based in Wales as a World Rugby coaching intern with Wales Women
The stamp on which she features marks Ireland Women’s 73-3 hammering of Scotland in 2015.
Speaking on the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) website, Melissa Berry said: “It’s a huge privilege and honour to be a part of this collection alongside so many amazing players and memorable moments over the last 150 years.
“This game in particular holds a special place in my heart as not only did I score a try, but we beat England on the way to winning the Triple Crown that year.
“This collection also recognises the growth of the women’s game and the drive to gain parity with our male counterparts.”
Congratulating Melissa Berry on Twitter, Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi, who is a former rugby player and keen advocate for women’s sports, said: “Outstanding to see Mel on a stamp! What an accolade for an outstanding career in women’s rugby”
Outstanding to see Mel @WelshieBerry on a stamp!
What an accolade for an outstanding career in womens’s rugby 🏉💪👏@WelshRugbyUnion https://t.co/92mZTXhRZ3
— Tonia Antoniazzi MP 🌈 (@ToniaAntoniazzi) October 6, 2021
David Gold, Royal Mail Director of External Affairs & Policy, said: “The sport of rugby continues to evolve today and is becoming an ever more inclusive sport – with almost three million women players across the world – increased diversity and inclusivity has seen the culture of the game change, both on and off the field. These stamps are a fitting way to mark Rugby Union’s long and extraordinary history.”
Williams, Berry and Spence feature on the stamps alongside several other key rugby figures from both the men’s and women’s game including Jonny Wilkinson, Emily Scarratt, Danielle Waterman, Roy Laidlaw, Kim Littlejohn and Simon Geoghegan.
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You can tell the union is in trouble, I am in my late 60s and can not recall a single Welsh sporting icon on a postage stamp, no matter what they have achieved. And to confirm it is just a union ploy/propaganda they chose rugby, widely seen outside our country as our national sport, when everybody here knows it is football. The national rugby stadium is filled maybe 6 times a year compared to the hundreds of thousands that watch football every week, and the numbers playing each sport weekly, and I am a fan of both. 2/10 must try… Read more »
I have seen a couple of stamps, one issued in 1968 by the Republica De Honduras, featuring Lynn Davies, but nothing more. Somehow, I don’t think putting JPR on a 2nd class stamp is going to do much towards saving the union!
It is though, part of the propaganda push, try to make us feel important and needed by the union.