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Will Carling playing for Harlequins © Museum of Rugby, Twickenham www.rfu.com/microsites/museum

Speaking as the reigning Rugby Union world champions of 2003, we can lay claim to a fair amount of pride in our national performance at another of those team games we invented in centuries gone by. Rugby, whether of the Union or the League varieties, runs in the blood of our nation, and it is with some satisfaction that we have witnessed it becoming a truly international sport.

There may be hardly any truth in the old story about the Rugby School pupil inventing the game in a moment of madness in the early 19th century, and yet it is after him that the World Cup trophy is named. At its spiritual home at the Twickenham stadium, and also in the competitiveness of the Rugby League Challenge Cup, we pay annual homage to the roughest, and yet simultaneously the most gentlemanly, of all contact sports.

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry