The Rag Doll: A Tradition Restored

12 August 2014

When Bath Rugby face Scarlets at the Rec on Saturday (kick-off 15.00), an old tradition will be revived especially for the fabled cross-border clash.

The famous Rag Doll has been contested between these two sides – synonymous with rugby in Wales and England – since 1921, with the three-foot tall mannequin hanging from the crossbar and decked in the colours of the side which won the last fixture.

There is some debate as to the origins of the Rag Doll. Most believe it was presented to Bath by T.R. Mills, the owner of the Salutation Inn, then the headquarters of Llanelli Rugby Club; others say it was the handiwork of another licensee, Bath supporter Rosina Rothery of the Queen’s Head at Box.

There have been a few mannequin-related mishaps along the way. In the 1935-36 season, Llanelli (as Scarlets were then known) mislaid the Rag Doll and instead sent what they saw as a fitting replacement: a can of Felinfoel beer from the oldest brewery in Wales. (In fairness to Llanelli, it was the first time canned beer had ever been produced outside of the USA.)

More recently, it was official International Rugby Board guidelines rather than absent-mindedness which denied supporters the pleasure of seeing the Rag Doll dangling from its customary position under the crossbar. In 2002, the IRB determined that it should be placed above the protective padding around the posts for the Heineken Cup quarter-final at the Rec.

Bath Rugby haven’t relinquished the Rag Doll since winning it back in a pre-season game in 2007, making the latest chapter in this cross-border history even more intriguing, with the mannequin back where it belongs under the crossbar.   

Come and show your support for the boys in their opening pre-season friendly as tickets are still available for the historical game. Priced at just £20 for adults and £10 for juniors, tickets can be purchased online, by calling 0844 448 1865 or in person at the Ticket Office. 


Hospitality for this game has now sold out, however we do still have a few opportunities left to join us for a corporate experience at our opening game against London Welsh on Saturday 13th September.  Prices start at just £99 + vat per person, which includes great food, complimentary beers, wines and soft drinks, a Q&A session with one of the players, plus a covered match ticket. For more details please contact the Hospitality Team on 01225 325200 option 2.

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