South West England bids farewell to the Webb Ellis Cup
The Webb Ellis Cup visited events across South West England during eleven day visit from July 7 – July 17
The South West was the first region in England to welcome the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour as it started its 75-day journey around the country
A highlights video from the journey and rights free images are available to download
The Webb Ellis Cup has completed its eleven day journey through South West England, visiting a variety of Rugby clubs, festivals and landmarks and giving thousands of people the opportunity to be inspired by the most prestigious prize in the sport.
The Trophy’s visit to South West England marked the start of the 75-day Trophy Tour around England, having already spent 25 days travelling around Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales. To mark the start of the Trophy Tour’s arrival in England, the Webb Ellis Cup visited the Isles of Scilly with Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and RFU President, Jason Leonard, and the Cornish Pirates, under beautiful summer sunshine and blue skies. This was followed by a visit to the iconic biodomes of the Eden Project in Cornwall and a beach Rugby event at Perranporth Beach. The Trophy continued its journey through the South West, visiting towns and cities across the region and including the Host Cities of Gloucester and Exeter.
Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, Stephen Brown, said: “The reception the Webb Ellis Cup has received upon arriving in South West England has spurred on excitement for the Tournament in September, particularly as Sandy Park and Kingsholm Stadium gear up to host seven matches between them for Rugby World Cup 2015. The Trophy Tour, with support from the RFU, Rugby legends and local event owners throughout the region, has seen people from all backgrounds come together in a celebration of Rugby as we count down to the Opening Ceremony on September 18.”
Jason Leonard added: “This year will be the most significant in the history of the Game in England and it’s an exciting opportunity for us to raise the profile of Rugby through the Trophy Tour, in particular among grassroots clubs across the country.
“Rugby really is a sport for everyone, for all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds – men, women, boys and girls – and it’s great to see so many people already feeling the excitement of Rugby World Cup 2015.”
The Webb Ellis Cup visited a Royal Navy submarine at HMNB Devonport on day 28, reflecting Rugby’s popularity within the Armed Forces, and was later on display at Crediton Rugby Club to mark a 1915 Great War Commemorative Match against Barnstaple Rugby Club. Also that day, England Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 winner Sarah Hunter MBE was on hand to greet the Webb Ellis Cup with former England international Graham Dawe as the Trophy visited Plymouth’s University of St Marks and St John – a Team Base hosting Namibia during Rugby World Cup 2015.
Hunter said: “It is great to welcome the Trophy on its journey, and you can really feel the momentum building towards the Tournament. Hopefully, it can help inspire children, if they are not already Rugby players, to take up the sport and continue growing our Game. Even if you are not necessarily wanting to perform at a high, elite end, Rugby is such a brilliant sport that a Tournament of the magnitude of a Rugby World Cup can just bring people together. It unites everyone for the love of the Game.
“You can support Rugby, you can play Rugby and you can referee Rugby, and having the Trophy going around the country is fantastic.”
A two-day visit to the first Host City in England, Exeter, saw the Trophy inspire even more of the next generation of Rugby stars with an inter-schools competition at Host Venue Sandy Park, on day 30. The following day Exeter city centre welcomed the Webb Ellis Cup and Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Richard Hill with a parade at the Exeter Host City Festival.
Journeying onwards to Bath on day 33, the Trophy was accompanied to the University of Bath and official opening of Odd Down Sports Ground by Head Coach of Premiership outfit Bath Rugby Mike Ford and Jason Leonard. The day concluded with a Rugby World Cup Experiences Q&A at Bath Guildhall with former Bath Rugby stars including David Flatman, Lee Mears, Matt Perry, Danny Grewcock and David Trick alongside the Webb Ellis Cup.
Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and England 2015 Ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio joined the Trophy on day 34 for sunrise at Stonehenge before joining with the Bristol Rugby squad and Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, for a junior school tag competition which culminated on Clifton Suspension Bridge, where Dallaglio successfully kicked a Rugby ball through the posts of the iconic bridge.
The Webb Ellis Cup spent its final two days in the South West in Host City Gloucester, where England Rugby 2015’s Managing Director Stephen Brown, the RFU’s Chief Executive Ian Ritchie, Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Jason Robinson and former Gloucester Rugby player Adam Balding all showed their support and enthusiasm for the Trophy Tour during visits to Host Venue Kingsholm Stadium, Team Base Hartpury College and iconic locations in Gloucester city centre.
The Webb Ellis Cup will now travel north through the Midlands to continue its 100-day journey around the UK and Ireland which will culminate at Twickenham for the Opening Ceremony of Rugby World Cup 2015 on September 18.
The South West will host seven Rugby World Cup matches through September and October – tickets are still available to buy:
Tues Sep 29 16:45, Tonga v Namibia, Sandy Park, Exeter
Wed Oct 7 20:00, Namibia v Georgia, Sandy Park, Exeter
Sun Oct 11 14:30, Italy v Romania, Sandy Park, Exeter
Sat Sep 19 12:00, Tonga v Georgia, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
Wed Sep 23 14:30, Scotland v Japan, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
Fri Sep 25 16:45, Argentina v Georgia, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
Sun Oct 20:00, USA v Japan, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
England’s Tournament fixtures for Rugby World Cup 2015 are:
Friday September 18, 20:00pm: England v Fiji, Twickenham
Saturday September 26, 20:00pm: England v Wales, Twickenham
Saturday October 3, 20:00pm: England v Australia, Twickenham
Saturday October 10, 20:00pm: England v Uruguay, Manchester City Stadium
For more information about tickets, visit: tickets.rugbyworldcup.com