This post is also available in: Italian

Some may say that you have to be dead to be shown in a museum, but for Rugby players who share the world’s rugby fields and tournaments, there is a new life: Rugby Memorabilia in The Museum of Rugby – Mud and Sweat.

The description may not be elegant, but it is apt, and rugby players wherever they may be are forever proud of the moniker – and this is their living museum.

This past Tuesday, 10 November 2015, saw a gathering of rugby enthusiasts and sports luminaries to formally open the Museum of Rugby  in Colleferro, near Rome and now in Artena. It is not so surprising that this museum was born here as this area saw the birth of Rugby in Italy in the 1920’2. In fact Lazio won the first championship in 1929 beating Ambrosiana.

The living museum of rugby is now an adolescent since Corrado Mattoccia started his collection of rugby jerseys and rugby memorabilia. Yet, this day marked the establishment of a new site for the expanding collection.

Every Rugby country is represented in the rooms and halls of this professionally organised museum. Each jersey and article of rugby memorabilia tells a story that will excite not just the aficionados of rugby. Energitismo collaborates with the Museum in a special project of Art and Sport .

At the opening of this living museum by Giovanni Malagò, President of the Italian Olympic Federation and Pierluigi Sanna, the young a vibrant mayor of Colleferro, we were reminded of the Olympic tradition of sportsmanship and reflected on the spirit of rugby. A special thanks is essential to Daniele Mandova who let this building to the museum for free.

As Corrado likes to remind visitors, rugby is a sport of three halves, the first two being competition on the field and the third being what Australians call ‘mateship’ in the change rooms and festivities afterwards. Rugby is a game. The players respect each other. There are no cheats.

All are welcome, the players share their jerseys and many now donate these trophies to the museum. The referees are respected as an important part of the game and rarely is a bad word spoken.

So, undoubtedly, Rugby is the essence of the Olympic spirit and possibly should be a compulsory sport if the Olympic tradition is to survive greed and corruption. Respect for all and pleasure in promoting tradition is found throughout this living museum. Even now, as we share in the museum memories of one of the greatest Kiwis, Jonah Lomu.

The opening ceremony was joined and witnessed by about 40 students of 3 to 6 years from the local school. Their entry in ‘congo line’, girls in pink smocks and boys in blue smocks made us a little grateful that gender politics has not entered this level of education – yet.

Rugby is a game that goes beyond politics and power as the famous Neath game evidenced, and we can only hope that these children were inculcated with the some of the rugby spirit and can grow in natural ‘mateship’ enjoying tradition.


Gavin Tulloch

Scienziato e poeta. Ama la chimica, il vino, le donne e l’opera, ma non sappiamo in quale ordine