25 years service to
the Rugby League


Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup Final between Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors will kick off at 307pm, as Rugby League celebrates the life of Rob Burrow CBE – the former Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain scrum half who wore the number 7 jersey with such courage and distinction throughout his playing career.

Following Burrow’s death at the age of 41 last Sunday, supporters will be able to leave tributes at the Rugby League Statue outside Wembley Stadium from 945am on Saturday morning – offering the opportunity to fans of all clubs to show their appreciation and admiration for his courage and humanity, as so many Leeds devotees have done already at AMT Headingley.

There will be further chances to demonstrate that affection with the Wembley crowd invited to join in one minute’s applause after 7 minutes of each of the four Finals on Rugby League’s traditional showpiece occasion – starting with the inspiresport Champion Schools Final in the morning, followed by the second Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final to have been played at Wembley, which features Burrow’s beloved Leeds Rhinos taking on the holders, St Helens. 

There will also be one minute’s silence before the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final and the men’s Final that follows – in each case following Abide with Me, the hymn which has long been part of Challenge Cup Final tradition, and which will be sung this year by Maxwell Thorpe and Katherine Jenkins OBE.

As in 2020, when Rob Burrow was the first Chief Guest in absentia for a Challenge Cup Final the year after he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, Rugby League will show its support for the MND Association which Burrow and his former Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield CBE have championed over recent years.

Players and Match Officials in all four Finals – concluding with the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final between Sheffield Eagles and Wakefield Trinity – will be involved in the latest demonstration of that support.

Rhodri Jones, the Managing Director of RL Commercial, said:

“Once the shock and sadness of Sunday night’s news had sunk in, we recognised the responsibility to provide a fitting celebration of a Rugby League superhero.

“We are grateful to BBC Sport and Wembley Stadium for their support - and to all involved with the six clubs and two schools who will be playing at Wembley on Saturday.

“Challenge Cup Final day has a great tradition of the Rugby League family coming together – this year, for reasons none would have chosen, we will be united in grief, but also in paying suitable tribute to a player who has transcended the sport.”It was unveiled in August 2015, reflecting Rugby League’s close association with Wembley Stadium, which began with the 1929 Challenge Cup Final, and has also included Ashes and World Cup international fixtures.

The statue is the work of the Yorkshire-based sculptor Steve Winterburn, who has gone on to produce statues of the Leeds great John Holmes outside the South Stand at Headingley – the focal point for this week’s tributes to Rob Burrow CBE – and who has been commissioned by the Rhinos for another statue encapsulating Burrow’s friendship with Kevin Sinfield CBE.

The Rugby League Statue pays tribute to five players who made memorable contributions to the sport’s history at Wembley: Eric Ashton MBE, Billy Boston MBE, Alex Murphy OBE, Gus Risman and Martin Offiah MBE – who will be the Chief Guest at Saturday’s Finals, 30 years after he scored arguably the most celebrated Challenge Cup try of all time for Wigan against Leeds in the 1994 Final.

Supporters are politely advised not to bring any form of flames (such as candles) to add to the tribute to Rob Burrow CBE at the Rugby League Statue.

All portable tributes will be relocated to the John Holmes Statue at Headingley – floral tributes will not be relocated.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 5th Jun 2024 4:45 PM | Views : 6397 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES