Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour in UK & Ireland
Updates of the action as the Webb Ellis Cup tours the UK & Ireland ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015.
The iconic Webb Ellis Cup is touring the UK & Ireland in a specially-designed Land Rover Defender in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2015.
The UK and Ireland Trophy Tour will encompass 100 days, over 300 events and 9,000 miles – that’s the length of 100,000 rugby pitches, travelled over the course of 1800 back-to-back matches.
The Trophy Tour Defender is a bespoke modified 110 Station Wagon with a trophy cabinet integrated into the rear of the vehicle. It took 6,000 hours to design at our Special Vehicle Operations base in the West Midlands.
The making of the Trophy Tour Defender
The journey to take the hallowed Trophy across the country began on June 10th, to mark 100 days until the start of the Tournament. Rugby World Cup 2003 winners Jonny Wilkinson and Will Greenwood were on hand to help kick-start the tour at Twickenham, where Land Rover guest Prince Harry also spoke of his excitement:
“The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour will enable rugby fans from across the country to play their part in the build up to the Tournament."
“Rugby is a game built on values – respect, pride, teamwork and discipline. In 100 days' time, England and Cardiff will play host to an incredible festival of rugby with the world's best players, the world's best teams and of course the world's greatest fans demonstrating these values.”
Fans all over the country will have a close-up view of the cup and meet some of rugby’s biggest names during the Tour, which will engage with over 100 clubs, organisations and rugby festivals from grassroots to the elite level.
The Webb Ellis Cup will arrive back at Twickenham Stadium on 18 September for the Tournament’s Opening Ceremony.
Visit this page for further updates on the Tour, and find event details on the official Rugby World Cup website.
Land Rover is a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 and Official Vehicle Partner for the Tournament
Scotland Leg: Inverness
“Everyone is just in awe of this fabulous Trophy – hopefully some of them will be inspired to compete for Scotland one day.”
Highland Youth Coach Paul Schofield said the event had a big impact on the kids involved: “It has been really inspiring for the young ones to see Kelly and Chris, and there are a lot of other clubs here as well that have taken the opportunity to come down. So it’s been a really good day of rugby.”
The trophy tour stops off at Inverness
Ireland Leg: Dublin
The next leg of the Tour took place in Ireland, where the Webb Ellis Cup arrived on 16th June. Over the following week, it visited clubs in Derry, Belfast, Galway, before arriving at Old Belvedere RFC in Dublin for a Land Rover-sponsored event on 23rd June.
There, Fijian international Isa Nacewa and Gordon D’Arcy, capped 81 times by Ireland, took a training session for the youngsters of the club’s youth section as they looked to develop their skills in a grassroots rugby festival. The rising stars were able to see the coveted Webb Ellis Cup first hand as it completed its visit to Ireland.
“It was hugely encouraging to see the children enjoying their Rugby so much here today and some of the skills on display were very impressive. We may have witnessed future stars of Irish Rugby!”
Wales Leg: Cardiff
The Trophy Tour visited Barry Island on 4th July for the Cardiff Blues Beach Rugby Festival. There, scores of young rugby fans auditioned for the chance to become World Cup 2015 mascots and were able to see the fabled Webb Ellis Cup up close, while a five-a-side touch rugby tournament also took place, featuring amateur players alongside ex-Wales players Tom Shanklin and Rhys Williams.
"My first World Cup memory is in 1999 when the Webb Ellis Cup came to Wales and was going through villages. I remember as kids we saw the Trophy in person and you just wanted to hold it – it really did inspire Wales as a nation and it's great that it has come back here on its way to Twickenham.”
The youngsters learnt some tips in a passing session with Wales international star Jonathan Davies, who was only too happy to pass on his expertise: "It's great to be a part of grassroots rugby because that's where every professional player comes from,” Davies said. “It was good to see so many kids out here chucking the ball and getting involved with rugby. Who knows, we might have the next Leigh Halfpenny here.”
England Leg: Honiton
On 9th July, World Cup winner Lewis Moody drove the Webb Ellis Cup to the Land Rover Experience Centre in Honiton for the Tour’s Devon stop, giving local customers a chance to see the trophy and the specially-adapted Trophy Tour Defender.
“The best thing about the Trophy Tour is, that it’s engaging the next generation.”
The former England captain has been spearheading the Land Rover Mascot Programme this year, giving young grassroots players aged between seven and 13 the chance to become one of the 96 Rugby World Cup 2015 match day mascots.
He spoke of his delight at the way the Tour was working to get young rugby fans involved in the Rugby World Cup 2015. “Sometimes the World Cup can seem a bit inaccessible but the fact that the Trophy is going around to as many grassroots clubs as possible and that the mascot competition is getting so many youngsters involved in the Tournament is fantastic. It's like the World Cup is coming to you and I love that.”
At Guy Salmon Stockport on Saturday 25th July, 2003 RWC winner Jason Robinson spoke about the Rugby World Cup hopes of rugby league convert Sam Burgess, and his own experiences as a cross-code star. Soaking up the atmosphere as he paraded the trophy, the 56-cap back also spoke about the Trophy Tour itself, bringing the Webb Ellis Cup to thousands of fans across the country and around the world.“The Trophy Tour is just great, we’ve got lots of supporters who are going to be cheering on their teams this year. It’s a great opportunity for them to be able to get up close and personal with the trophy. It’s great that Land Rover have been able to take it all over the world.A lot of people have never seen it this close up. It’s very intriguing to see what it looks like. I’ve had the privilege of being able to lift it up as a past winner, and it’s not only great to see the trophy, but the Defender that’s been created just for this purpose.
LAND ROVER BURGHLEY HORSE TRIALS LEG
Two weeks before the Rugby World Cup 2015 kick off, the Webb Ellis cup visited Burghley Horse Trials. Rugby World Cup 2003 winner, Jason Robinson OBE, transported the Webb Ellis Cup in a custom-built Defender, allowing spectators to get up close and admire the coveted Trophy.
Fellow Rugby World Cup 2003 teammates Martin Corry and Will Greenwood also attended the four day event. They were on hand to assist with coaching sessions for those looking to test their rugby skills. Harry Meade, one of Britain’s leading event riders and newest addition to the Land Rover ambassador roster, sharpened up on his rugby knowledge with some coaching tips from Greenwood.
Amidst growing Rugby World Cup fever, children aged between seven and 13 were given a final opportunity to audition to be an official Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot. Follow @LandRover_UK on Twitter for updates.