Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour kicks off
(ER 2015) Tuesday 20 May 2014
Japan will be the first stop on the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour
- Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour begins and departs for Japan
- Webb Ellis Cup to visit 15 countries over 12 months
- Celebrating rugby around the world in the lead up to RWC 2015
- Delivered in partnership with Land Rover and DHL
- Arrives in Tokyo on Thursday May 22 for five days
- Trophy to visit school, university, communities and iconic locations in and around the city
The international Trophy Tour, delivered by England Rugby 2015, the organising committee for Rugby World Cup 2015, in partnership with Land Rover and DHL will see Rugby's most coveted prize visit 15 countries over the next 12 months as part of a celebration of Rugby in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2015, hosted in England and Cardiff.
The Webb Ellis Cup departed from East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire, after being driven onto the runway and carried onto the plane by Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and England Rugby 2015 Ambassador, Will Greenwood. Children from local schools carrying flags representing each of the 15 destination countries formed a guard of honour, sending the Webb Ellis Cup off on its tour.
Greenwood said: "Having witnessed the excitement when we brought the Webb Ellis Cup back to England after winning Rugby World Cup 2003, it is now a great honour to send the trophy off on its journey as we start to build the excitement for Rugby World Cup 2015.
"I have got no doubt that the trophy will capture the imagination of loyal fans and people that are new to the Game as it travels around the world.”
The Webb Ellis Cup will touch down in Tokyo on Thursday before spending five days in and around the city. It will visit communities where Rugby is well established, such as Keio University, as well those that are new to the Game, such as Yamanashi.
The trophy will also visit iconic landmarks such as the Asakusa Old Temple and the sumo at Ryogoku Kokugikan where fans and newcomers to the Game will get a chance to catch a glimpse of it.
Celebrating Rugby's values
The visit is timed to coincide with the top-of-the-table Asian 5 Nations 2014 clash between Japan and Hong Kong, which is also the decisive qualifier for who will secure the Asia 1 spot at Rugby World Cup 2015. That match will be the final event at the iconic National Stadium in Tokyo before it is closed and rebuilt in time for Rugby World Cup 2019.
England Rugby 2015 Chief Executive, Debbie Jevans, said: "When we bid to host Rugby World Cup 2015 we made a commitment to excite audiences around the world about the event. The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour is a great opportunity to celebrate the values of the Game with fans in both established and new Rugby markets in the months leading up to the tournament.
"As a future Rugby World Cup host and an emerging force in world Rugby, Japan is a perfect first stop for the trophy. We look forward to what promises to be a warm welcome in Tokyo.”
Brand Experience Director, Land Rover, Mark Cameron, said: "This is an exciting moment for everyone at Land Rover as we see the start to our sponsorship as Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015.
"The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour enables us to engage with our customers, staff and rugby fans around the world by showcasing our vehicles capabilities in each destination, driving the famous Webb Ellis Cup to places and communities it has never been to before. We look forward to being an integral part of these celebrations as excitement builds towards next year's tournament and Japan is a great place to start.”
Global Chief Executive Officer of DHL Express, Ken Allen, said: "DHL is proud to be a partner of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour and to be sending this precious silverware from DHL's UK hub via our extensive network, once again showcasing DHL's commitment to supporting Rugby globally.
"We're excited to be taking the Webb Ellis Cup to both rugby heartlands and emerging Rugby nations such as Japan, celebrating Rugby with fans around the world and building anticipation for next year's Rugby World Cup."