The Official England Rugby Rose

The Harkness Rose Company, one of the most prominent breeders of British roses, is to launch a brand-new rose in collaboration with England Rugby. A donation from the sale of each rose will go to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Injured Players Foundation, which provides support to rugby players who sustain a catastrophic spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury playing the game.

This stunning new red rose variety bred by The Harkness Rose Company has been produced exclusively for the RFU to mark the 150th anniversary of English Rugby. The England Rugby Rose is a superb red classic hybrid tea from the Harkness Rose Breeding programme.

This Rose continuously produces flower throughout the season – the effect is of waves of colour. This variety bears quite large, slightly rounded flowers with delicate and fresh scent notes. It forms a compact shrub with plenty dark green and disease-resistant foliage. Its excellent, strong, bushy habit holds flowers up high in a lively manner. Ideal variety for beds, borders and large patio containers. Very healthy and very easy to grow.

COLOUR: Deep Red

FRAGRANCE:  Delicate Fresh Fragrance



ROSE TYPE:  Hybrid Tea

HEIGHT: 80-90 cm

The red rose has been a symbol of English Rugby since 1871, so this exquisite red hybrid tea was an obvious choice. Whilst there are no records explaining why the RFU chose the red rose as the emblem of English Rugby, it is believed an association with Rugby School could hold the answer. In 1559, Queen Elizabeth I gifted the school’s founder, Lawrence Sheriff, with a coat of arms that featured the red rose of Lancaster. Almost instinctively the rose found its way onto the Rugby School’s coat of arms and has been a symbol of the RFU ever since. There have been many variations of the rose over the years, but in the early 20th century, the red rose with a four-leafed stem started to establish dominance and was standardised shortly after. The rose still proudly adorns all the England Rugby teams’ playing shirts and caps today.

Money raised through sales of the rose will help fund the RFU Injured Players Foundation which provides support to rugby players who sustain a catastrophic spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury while playing the game.

The Harkness Rose Company Managing Director, Philip Harkness, says “It is a great privilege to be working in partnership with the RFU to launch this beautiful rose celebrating a century and a half of English Rugby. We are incredibly proud to be the official rose grower of the RFU and I am sure this beautiful, healthy commemorative rose is sure to inspire gardeners and Rugby enthusiasts alike”.

RFU Chief Executive Bill Sweeney commented: “I am delighted the RFU will be working with Harkness Roses for such a significant milestone in our history not only on a professional level but on a personal one too. I have a particular interest in roses with a number of varieties in my garden. This is a beautiful new rose and I look forward to adding it to my own collection, I hope others do too.”


Rugby Football Union (RFU) President His Honour Jeff Blackett at our Hitchin nursery to see the official England Rugby rose.

Notes to Editors:

{Pictures available on request}


The Harkness Rose Company
Briar Patch Nursery
Ickwell Road
Upper Caldecote
SG18 9BS

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