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Brian Pope: A century

Brian Pope at 100, and in action on the rugby pitch
Brian Pope (1929) England’s oldest living rugby union international, celebrates his 100th birthday today, with the best wishes of the Master, Fellows, students and staff of Clare College. The Master gave Brian two CDs of music recorded by the College Choir.

Edward Brian Pope was born in Hertfordshire in 1911 and came up to Clare in 1929 to read History having captained Uppingham at rugby, hockey and cricket. He was capped by England at scrum half three times before he won his Blue 1932, playing in the 8-3 defeat by Oxford. The Oxford XV included the Welsh British Lion Vivian Jenkins at centre and Tuppy Owen-Smith, later an England full back.

Though no longer able take up his complimentary tickets for Twickenham internationals, Brian was fit enough to play golf into his 90s and, at 92, became the only player to hit a hole-in-one on the famous “Maiden” (the 5th hole) at Royal St George’s in Sandwich.

Brian played club rugby for Blackheath, served in the RAF in World War II, and was an underwriting company director, working on the Lloyds Insurance market. His grandson Andrew Watson is delighted to report Brian has remained “a great supporter of England rugby” throughout his years of retirement.