WELCOME TO 2015: YEAR OF RUGBY WORLD CUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Year of Rugby World Cup 2015 is welcomed in by Tournament Organisers
Host Cities Newcastle and Cardiff mark RWC 2015 with England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster launching Tyne Bridge celebrations
Highest ticket demand for any RWC to date with over 5 million applications received
Tournament is set to deliver nearly £1 billion into economy
The year of Rugby World Cup 2015 is here and the world’s top 20 teams will now countdown to the six week Tournament, hosted in England and Cardiff in 2015, to compete for Rugby’s greatest prize: the Webb Ellis Cup.

Tournament Organisers, England Rugby 2015, Tournament Owners, Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL), VisitEngland, and Newcastle Council marked the turning of the year by unveiling a Rugby World Cup 2015 mark on the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle, one of the 11 Rugby World Cup 2015 Host Cities. In Newcastle, where St James Park will play host to three matches in 2015, England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster lit up the RWC 2015 mark and started the firework display to celebrate the arrival of 2015.

In Cardiff, Wales, where the Millennium Stadium will play host to eight matches next year including the Quarter Finals, a Rugby World Cup 2015 projection onto Cardiff Castle marked the city’s own countdown to the Tournament, adding to the excitement the length and breadth of the nation and further afield as fans prepare for Rugby’s global showcase event. Click here for images.

With a projected value of £982 million to the UK economy and at least 460,000 visitors expected to travel into England and Cardiff for the Tournament, Rugby World Cup 2015 will be one of the highlights of the 2015 sporting calendar. Already on course to capture the attention of the global sporting world, the coveted Webb Ellis Cup has made its way across 10 countries including Japan, Australia, Fiji, Argentina, South Africa, USA, China and the UAE as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Trophy Tour, delivered in partnership with Land Rover and DHL, engaging with players, fans, schools and rugby clubs as the world gets ready for a celebration of Rugby in 2015.

2014 marked a year of planning and continued progress for Tournament Organisers, England Rugby 2015, with tickets going on general sale in September. Over 5 million ticket applications were received during the 17 day application window, the highest demand for any Rugby World Cup to date, and 1.85 million tickets in total have now been sold, including record sales through the Official Supporters Tours and Hospitality programmes with 170,000 packages sold to date. Rugby World Cup 2015 is on course to be the best attended and most viewed Rugby World Cup.

England Rugby 2015, Chief Executive, Debbie Jevans, said, “It is hugely exciting to mark the year of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Our ambition is that England will feel like a ‘rugby nation’ throughout 2015 and that we deliver a tournament that both excites and inspires the nation while keeping rugby at its heart.

“2014 has been a very busy and productive year where, in addition to launching our ticket sales programme, we carried out 10,000 interviews in the search for ‘The Pack’, our 6,000 team of volunteers, confirmed the 41 Team training Bases, celebrated 500 days to go with the start of the international Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour and carried out our first testing exercise. As we move into 2015 we can now look forward with great anticipation and we will continue to focus on ensuring that the Tournament we stage is the best it can be.”

England Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster, said, “It is fantastic to be a part of the celebrations to mark the year of Rugby World Cup 2015 up in Newcastle, and with 9 months still to go you can already feel the enthusiasm and excitement. Installing the Rugby World Cup 2015 sign on the iconic Tyne Bridge is a great way to bring in the New Year, starting the countdown for players and fans alike.

“To ensure the England team is successful in the Tournament is clearly my absolute priority, but it also creates a unique opportunity to inspire people to get involved in Rugby and to enjoy a game that has so many benefits, on and off the field.”

Rugby World Cup Limited and World Rugby Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, added, “January 1 marks the beginning of the Rugby World Cup 2015 year and with the excitement and anticipation gathering pace, fans and the teams can look forward to a very special and record-breaking celebration of Rugby and the host nation. It really will be too big to miss.”

“As we enter the Rugby World Cup year we are in great shape and driven by a collective vision and strong teamwork between RWCL, England Rugby 2015 and the RFU. The foundations have been laid to ensure a competitive Tournament on the field, an exceptional experience off it, and the platform for unprecedented Rugby projection and growth. We are set for the best-ever Rugby World Cup.”

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