The Webb Ellis Cup has completed its journey around Dubai as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.
The full Trophy Tour video package, plus additional interviews and footage can be found here.
Rights free images are available here.
The first day of the visit saw pupils from Rashid School for Boys got a chance to see the Trophy. With many of the pupils already playing Rugby, it was an inspirational moment to get so close to the game’s biggest prize. Later that day the Webb Ellis Cup was guest of honour at a reception hosted by the British Embassy which was attended by various members of the local Rugby community. This included a number of previous Rugby World Cup stars including former Wales international, Tom Shanklin, former Scotland international, Rory Lawson and former Samoan international, Apollo Perelini.
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said: “We have had a great reception during our visit and I would like to thank everyone that has hosted the Trophy. With Rugby being popular in Dubai, I hope our visit has helped to spread some of the excitement that is building towards the Tournament next year.”
The second day of the visit saw former Wales international, Tom Shanklin, who played at both the Rugby World Cup’s in 2003 and 2007, visit the Dubai Hurricanes where he put some of the players through their paces in a training session and signed autographs for local children. The visit finished with the Webb Ellis Cup visiting some of the iconic locations in the city, including the Burj Al Arab at sunset.
Rugby World Cup, the third largest global sporting event behind the Olympics and Football World Cup, takes place in England and Cardiff next year between September 18 and October 31. The Tournament will be hosted in 13 venues in 11 cities across the country.
The Trophy Tour, which is the first time Rugby’s most coveted prize has been showcased around the world, is being delivered in partnership with Land Rover and DHL – two long supporters of the Game and Rugby World Cup 2015 Worldwide Partners.
Land Rover took the Webb Ellis Cup out of the city of Dubai to give a more remote community the opportunity to get close to the game’s most iconic Trophy. Land Rover’s Least Driven Path, which is taking the Trophy to places it has never been before, was accompanied to Al Ain in the district of Zakher by former Scotland Rugby captain, Rory Lawson, and Cyrus Homayoun, UAE National 7’s captain and regular member of the National XV’s side. The Trophy visited one of the area’s most iconic sand dunes, located on the western outskirts of Al Ain, before going to the Emirates National School where Rory and Cyrus conducted a Rugby training session with the local children.
Speaking on behalf of Land Rover, Rory Lawson commented: “It has been extremely rewarding to see children embrace Rugby so completely, particularly in a community such as Al Ain that has less exposure to the game. Hopefully the local children will have been inspired by the presence of the Trophy and continue to enjoy the sport. This leg of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour has also given us the opportunity to do something a little different with the Webb Ellis Cup as we took it driving on sand dunes!”
Bruce Robertson, Managing Director for Jaguar Land Rover MENAP Region, said: “Land Rover is proud to have helped England Rugby 2015 raise awareness of Rugby World Cup 2015 in a territory where Rugby is still developing, showcasing our commitment to all levels of the game. Land Rover’s Least Driven Path continues to drive huge excitement for Rugby World Cup 2015 by giving those that would otherwise never get a chance to see the iconic Webb Ellis Cup the chance to do so.”
After visiting the Dubai Hurricanes, the Webb Ellis Cup took centre stage at the DHL Rugby vs the World Challenge, where rugby took on golf in a battle of the sports. Welsh Rugby legend Tom Shanklin tested his skills against Meydan Golf Resort’s resident professional Mark Jones as Rugby sought to level the overall scores in the eighth challenge of the Trophy Tour.
DHL Express UAE Country Manager, Frank-Uwe Ungerer, said: “Having the renowned Webb Ellis Cup in the UAE has been a great privilege for us, and being able to have it visit the Dubai Hurricanes Academy has been an absolute pleasure for all the kids which had the chance to get their picture taken with it. We would like to thank our partners for making the Trophy Tour happen. This is yet another example of our commitment to the sport and furthermore reinforces our support for Rugby world wide and especially in the UAE”
The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour has previously visited Japan, Australia, Fiji, Madagascar, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay and USA.
The next stop of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour will see the Webb Ellis Cup visit China next week.