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Canterbury Rugby Club discovers wartime link with Czech Republic side Club Praga Praha

An extraordinary tale of a wartime connection between two rugby clubs 750 miles apart has come to light following a chance meeting.

In what seemed like any other game, Canterbury’s under-13 and 14 sides prepared to host a club from the Czech Republic.

But with players from Club Praga Praha sporting black and amber colours, the deep connection between the two sides was revealed to Canterbury’s coaches.

The Canterbury and Prague teams came togehter this month (8039618)
The Canterbury and Prague teams came togehter this month (8039618)

Back in the Second World War, RAF pilots dropped aid supplies into the Czechoslovakian capital.

Inside one of the parachuted boxes was a rugby ball and four black and amber shirts with greetings from Canterbury Rugby Club. Just four months later, in 1944, the Praga Praha club was formed and adopted Canterbury’s colours.

Still playing in the same colours 70 years on, the Czech side are currently on tour around France, England and Wales.

Canterbury club chairman Giles Hilton says this month’s visit, which saw the home side in their change colours, was a fantastic moment for both sides.

“It was all an absolute coincidence,” he said.

Prague, capital of the Czech Republic (8040261)
Prague, capital of the Czech Republic (8040261)

“We are at the heart of the club’s foundation but had no idea about this beforehand - we found out on the day. It’s a long time ago, but we would love to know who was responsible for sending the ball and shirts to Prague.

“If anyone knows who or why someone made the package, we’d love to know.

“This goes to show that rugby can reach every community and be a real force for good. I am so glad we helped to make a bit of the game’s history.”

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