Play Hard and Play Fair: The State of Rugby Union on the 30th Anniversary of the 1987 Rugby World Cup Final

A seminar as part of the Sport Business Centre Seminar Series

Given by: Leslie Crang, Senate House Library, & Birkbeck Sport Management Student

Room B34
Main Building,
Birkbeck College
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7HX

Tuesday 27th June, 2017, at 6pm.

For directions click here.

Attendance at the event is free but you need to register on EVENTBRITE.


The 20th of June 2017 was the 30th anniversary of the first Rugby Union World Cup Final which saw New Zealand defeat France by 29-9. Since then Rugby Union has developed to become virtually unrecognisable from the sport it was on that day. Here are a few examples of why:

In this presentation, Leslie Crang will examine the impact of the 1987 Rugby World Cup and the subsequent Rugby World Cups, briefly assessing the historical significance of the event and then assessing the influence of the media, the introduction of professionalism and sponsorship and the effects these may have had upon the development of the game, as well as examining what the future may hold for the game. Leslie will employ documentary and video material to underline how rugby union has evolved over the last 30 years both stylistically and financially.

The presentation will be of interest to anyone with an interest in rugby union per se, or in how rugby union (or sport in general) has developed in the last three decades in relation to the following key topics:

  • Uncertainty of Outcome
  • Governance
  • Media Rights
  • Sponsorship

In the tradition of the fanzine movement the presentation will be interactive and audience debate will be encouraged.


  • View the presentation on Prezi.


  • Leslie Crang is  a student on the MSc Sport Management & the Business of Football at Birkbeck College, University of London. He works in the collection management section of Senate House Library, and has a personal and professional interest in the field of sport history.  In June 2016 he curated  a one-day academic symposium exploring how England’s triumph in the 1966 World Cup marked a turning point for the role of sport, and football in particular, in British cultural life.He is a lifelong Arsenal fan and has previously written on the historical aspect of Arsenal on the Online Gooner, 7amkickoff and Bergkamp Wonderland as well as writing on the Senate House Library blog.

Contact details

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil

Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

Twitter: @Birkbecksport

View all Events