Rugby's rich heritage will be celebrated via one definitive Hall of Fame after the International Rugby Board announced it is to integrate inductees from the International Rugby Hall of Fame within its own IRB Hall of Fame property.
Under the deal agreed with the owners of the International Rugby Hall of Fame, 37 greats not already included within the IRB Hall of Fame will be inducted into the property, creating a unique record of those who have excited and inspired fans and shaped a sport that is now played by more than 6.6 million across 121 member unions.
The latest inductions will take place at a series of events throughout 2014 and 2015 and the inductees are: Fred Allen, Bill Beaumont, Phil Bennett, Naas Botha, Gordon Brown, Don Clarke, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, Morne du Plessis, Ieuan Evans, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, Danie Gerber, Tim Horan, Andy Irvine, Carwyn James, Barry John, Michael Jones, Tom Kiernan, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Jason Leonard, Michael Lynagh, Bill McLaren, Terry McLean, Jo Maso, Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, Hennie Muller, George Nepia, Gwyn Nicholls, Jean-Pierre Rives, Fergus Slattery, Joost van der Westhuizen, Wavell Wakefield, JPR Williams, Keith Wood.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Recognising rugby's heritage and those who have shaped the game on and off the field is important to the IRB and we are delighted to be integrating inductees from the International Rugby Hall of Fame into our own IRB Hall of Fame."
"Over the next year and a half we will be inducting some of the greats of our game into the IRB Hall of Fame at events around the globe, culminating at Rugby World Cup 2015.
"I would like to thank the owners of the International Rugby Hall of Fame for their support in creating one definitive celebration of the sport."
Chairman of Global Rugby Enterprises Limited (the owners of the International Rugby Hall of Fame) John Hart said: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the IRB to establish one definitive Rugby Hall of Fame.
"In doing so we have preserved the history of the International Rugby Hall of Fame by ensuring the induction of our 37 inductees who are not already in the IRB Hall of Fame. We wish the IRB Hall of Fame continued success."
The integration process will sit alongside the 2014 programme of inductions that will also recognise pioneers and greats from the women's game and some of the great characters from the beginning of the 20th century.
Notes: The full list of IRB Hall of Fame inductees, including those absorbed by the acquisition of the IRHF is: William Webb Ellis and Rugby School, Pierre de Coubertin, Danie Craven, Wilson Whineray, Gareth Edwards, John Eales, Joseph Astbury Warbrick and the 1888 New Zealand team, Ned Haig and Melrose RFC, Jack Kyle, Hugo Porta, Philippe Sella, William Maclagan, Barry Heatlie, Benjamin Osler, Cliff Morgan, Tony O'Reilly, Frederik de Preez, Sydney Millar, Willie John McBride, Ian McGeechan, Jean Prat, Andre and Guy Boniface, Lucien Mias, Serge Blanco, Harry Vassall and Alan Rotherham, Cardiff RFC and Francis Escott Hancock, David Gallagher, William Percy Carpmael and The Barbarians FC, Mike Gibson, Ian Roger Vanderfield, Richard Littlejohn, Nicholas Shehadie, John Kendal-Carpenter, David Kirk, Brian Lochore, Nick Farr-Jones, Bob Dwyer, Francois Pienaar, George Christie, Rod MacQueen, Gareth Rees, Clive Woodward, Jonah Lomu, Jake White, Brian Lima, Agustin Pichot, Martin Johnson, John Smit, Gordon Tietjens, Ian and Donald Campbell, Yoshihiro Sakata, Romanian Rugby team, the USA Olympic team, Richard and Kennedy Tsimba, Alfred Hamersley, Vladimir Iliushin, Waisale Serevi, Gavin Hastings, Ronnie Dawson, Bleddyn Williams and Jack Matthews, David Bedell-Sivright, Robert Seddon (and the 1888 team), John Thornett, George Gregan, Mark Ella, Ken Catchpole, David Campese, Thomas Lawton, Colin Meads, George Nepia, Don Clarke, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Jones, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Fred Allen, Grant Fox, Terry McLean, Graham Mourie, Michael Lynagh, Tim Horan, Wavell Wakefield, Bill Beaumont, Jason Leonard, Jean-Pierre Rives, Jo Maso, Keith Wood, Tom Kiernan, Fergus Slattery, Andy Irvine, Gordon Brown, Bill McLaren, Gavin Hastings, Morne du Plessis, Hennie Muller, Naas Botha, Danie Gerber, Joost van der Westhuizen, Barry John, JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Carwyn James, Mervyn Davies, Phil Bennett, Gwyn Nicholls, Ieuan Evans.
With thanks to the IRB