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England shirts will display poppies in autumn opener against South Africa

Published 02/11/2016

The England rugby team have had no issues wearing poppies
The England rugby team have had no issues wearing poppies

England will wear jerseys imprinted with poppies in their autumn series opener against South Africa at Twickenham - with the full support of World Rugby.

An outcry has greeted the decision of FIFA, football's global governing body, to ban the use of commemorative shirts when England and Scotland meet at Wembley on November 11.

According to FIFA, teams may not display political, religious or commercial symbols on their kit, provoking a furious response from Prime Minister Theresa May, who described the edict as "utterly outrageous".

No such rule exists in rugby, however, and England plan to wear jerseys that honour Remembrance Day when they host the Springboks on Saturday week.

"Poppies have always been an integral part of our situation, so the England team will be wearing it on the shirt," Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie said.

"Why would you not have an act of remembrance? I think wearing a poppy is part of that.

"It's the appropriate thing to do and World Rugby are very supportive of that. We don't have those issues and I think that's right.

"As you know it's an act of remembrance. It's the same as when we put the new Rose and Poppy gates in front of the stand. I think it's right to commemorate all the people who suffered in conflict.

"I think everyone gets it. It's absolutely appropriate to do it. It's not for me to comment on other sports, but all I can say is that World Rugby have been enormously supportive."

There will be a minute's silence before the first autumn international kicks off and Ritchie revealed that any Remembrance Day activity, including use of the poppy imagery, is cleared with opponents visiting Twickenham.

"I think it's a matter of courtesy to ask and on occasions in the past it's never been an issue," Ritchie said.

"But of course, as a matter of courtesy we still talk to them and clearly through World Rugby and they deal with that.

"There will also be specific things on the day. We've always worked closely with armed services charities so we're going to do that again this time.

"We change it from time to time. Sometimes it's the British Legion, sometimes it's Help for Heroes. That's appropriate and right."

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