Former England scrum-half turns 100
June 28, 2011
Pope will turn 100 tomorrow and the RFU will mark the special occasion with a presentation © Getty Images
England's oldest living international Brian Pope celebrates his 100th birthday on Wednesday.
Pope made his debut for England in 1931 against Wales and the RFU will mark the occasion by presenting him with an engraved silver salver. The England Rugby Internationals' club will also be giving him a framed picture and a match report from his England playing days.
Edward Brian Pope was born in Barnet in Hertfordshire in 1911 and attended Uppingham School where he captained the rugby team in winter and the hockey team in the Easter term. Going up to Cambridge, at Clare College, he won his rugby blue in 1932, playing in the 8-3 defeat by Oxford at Twickenham, where Oxford included Vivian Jenkins at centre and Tuppy Owen-Smith, later an England fullback.
Pope was already an England international by then, having played at scrum-half in 1931 against Wales. Pope went onto play against Scotland at Murrayfield on March 21 1931 in what transpired to be an extraordinary 10-try affair, ending 28-19 to Scotland.
On Easter Monday, 1931, Pope and England travelled to France for what would turn out to be France's last Championship match before 1947, due to arguments over professionalism. England led three times and scored three tries to two in the 14-13 defeat (under modern scoring values they would have been 19-16 winners).
Brian, whose club was Blackheath FC, later 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.
Though no longer able to get along to Twickenham Stadium to watch matches in person, Brian was fit enough to play golf into his 90s, achieving a hole-in-one-on the famous Maiden hole at the venue for this year's Open Championship, Royal St George's in Sandwich, aged 92.
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