Hill, George Rowland

George Rowland Hill was an administrator for the Rugby Football Union (RFU). He held the position of Secretary from 1881-1904 and was President from 1904-1907. His devotion to rugby was formerly recognised in 1926 when he was knighted for his services to the game.

The RFU was established in 1871 by twenty-one rugby clubs in London. By 1904 the responsibilities of the RFU had grown to the extent that the committee decided the role of Secretary should be a paid one. Rowland Hill subsequently stood down from the position, being replaced by P. Coles. Rowland Hill was instrumental in making sure Coles’ paid position did not threaten the strict rules of amateurism that dominated the game until the 1990s.

After Rowland Hill was succeeded as President he continued to serve on the RFU Committee until his death in 1928. Not long after his death the RFU arranged a memorial match in his honour. This was held on the 5th October 1929 between the combined teams of England and Wales versus Scotland and Ireland. The match had a huge turnout and people crowded into the Twickenham stands. On this day a memorial to Rowland Hill was also unveiled. This now forms the centrepiece of the Lion Gates at Twickenham Stadium.

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