Trophy Tour arrives in Fiji
The Webb Ellis Cup started its visit to Fiji on June 26 for the third leg of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.
On the first day of the Tour, the Trophy was given a traditional Fijian welcome by pupils from Ratu Navula Secondary School in Narewa, Nadi, before visiting the Garden of the Sleeping Giants.
The Tour, which is being delivered in partnership with Land Rover and DHL – two long supporters of the Game and Rugby World Cup 2015 Worldwide Partners – 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 Trophy arrives from Australia after spending two days in Sydney where it visited the Blue Mountains, Knox Grammar School and Darling Harbour. Last month the Webb Ellis Cup spent five days in Tokyo where it visited Keio University and other iconic locations in and around the city before being the star attraction for the last event at the National Stadium, which saw Japan qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Trophy takes centre stage
The Webb Ellis Cup will be in Fiji for three days between June 26 & 29 and will visit eight locations in and around Viti Levu including local schools and rugby clubs, before heading to Churchill Park for the match between Fiji and The Cook Islands. The winner of this match will take the Oceania 1 spot in Pool A alongside Australia, England, Wales and the Play-off winner at Rugby World Cup 2015.
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said: "We are very excited to be taking the Webb Ellis Cup to Fiji as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. With their passion for the Game I know that that the people of Fiji will help make our three day visit a celebration of Rugby which will culminate in their team taking on the Cook Islands for a spot at Rugby World Cup 2015.”
Reaching remote communities
Land Rover's Least Driven Path, as part of their commitment to take the Trophy to places it has never visited before, will see the Webb Ellis Cup driven to Naqali and Naivuci, where Land Rover ambassador and legendary Fijian Rugby World Cup star, Viliame Satala, will conduct coaching clinics with local children.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director, said: "Land Rover is delighted to be partnering with a Fijian Rugby icon like Viliame Satala to help give those that will never have seen the iconic Webb Ellis Cup the opportunity to do so. As such a passionate Rugby nation, taking the Cup to remote communities in Fiji is important to help the continued growth of the sport. Through Land Rover's Least Driven Path activity it is our intention to inspire the next generation of Rugby stars by giving them the opportunity to see the Webb Ellis Cup close up.”
Rugby vs Netball
As part of the visit, DHL are set to host the third installment of their Rugby v The World Challenge at Raiwaqa Rugby Club in Suva. The challenge will see New Zealand's Rugby World Cup 2011 winning prop John Afoa take on the Fiji Pearls' Maria Lutua in Rugby v Netball. John and Maria will firstly contest a lineout challenge with members of the Raiwaqa rugby team and the Fiji Netball Team. Roles will be reversed with a netball hoop shooting contest, with the final, and potentially deciding, challenge seeing John and Maria go head to head in Coconut husking, in a race against time around a four point course.
Mark Komene, DHL country manager for Fiji, commented: "DHL are delighted to welcome the Webb Ellis Cup to the Islands of Fiji, a country with rich rugby tradition, having taken part in every Rugby World Cup to date. We're excited to be able to bring the Trophy to the Raiwaqa Rugby Club on Friday, and give the local people the opportunity to see the most coveted prize in Rugby, and witness the latest installment of DHL's Rugby v the World Challenges. Our proud association with the Raiwaqa Rugby Club again highlights DHL's commitment to supporting Rugby around the world.”
Next stop Madagascar
After Fiji the Webb Ellis Cup will travel to Madagascar for a three day visit which will include the conclusion of the Confederation Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Division 1A, where Madagascar will take on Namibia at the Mahamasina Stadium in Antananarivo as part of the final round of African qualifiers for Rugby World Cup 2015.
- South Africa
- New Zealand