Madagascar welcomes Trophy Tour
The Webb Ellis Cup has arrived in Madagascar for the fourth leg of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.
On July 4 the Trophy visited the Father Pedro Foundation in Akamasoa where people from the village gave it a warm reception. Children from the village had their first taste of Rugby and were given t-shirts and balls as souvenirs. It then visited the Andohatapenaka Stadium where two schools, which are supported by the UN World Food Programme, took part in an exhibition Rugby match.
The Webb Ellis Cup is now set to be the guest of honour at a reception hosted at the British Embassy.
The Webb Ellis Cup will be in Antananarivo for three days during which time it will visit a number of locations in and around the city such as a Get Into Rugby Tournament and TFMA Rugby Club, before it takes centre stage at the Mahamasina Stadium for the climax of the Confederation Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Div 1A which will decide which African nation qualifies for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Recognising excellent work
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said: "We are very excited to be taking the Webb Ellis Cup to Madagascar as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy. This is an opportunity for us to highlight some of the excellent work that the UN World Food Programme are doing and we are pleased to be able to support them as the official charity for Rugby World Cup 2015.
"We know that there is a real enthusiasm for the Game and so we hope that this will help make our visit a celebration of Rugby which will culminate with us finding out which African nation will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015.”
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.
Continuing the promise to take the Webb Ellis Cup to places it has never been before, Land Rover's 'Least Driven Path' will see the Trophy transported along the Fenoarivo Road taking in some of the iconic landscape and will visit Lemurs Park, a stunning botanical park dedicated to the preservation of Madagascar's native species. The drive will then continue to the ancient and picturesque archaeological site of Antongona, where local children will take part in a Rugby demonstration in honour of the Webb Ellis Cup.
Off the beaten track
Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Brand Experience Director said: "Land Rover is committed to developing Rugby at all levels around the world. We are proud to be playing our part in building awareness in the Rugby World Cup 2015. We are taking the Webb Ellis Cup off the beaten track to communities who would not ordinarily get to see it. We want to engage and excite new interest in the sport and towards next year's Tournament.”
As a way of celebrating the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour coming to Madagascar, DHL hosted a special event at their head office, bringing the Webb Ellis Cup to guests which included the Minister of Sport and the President of the National Rugby Federation, along with DHL customers and staff who shared the excitement ahead of the conclusion of the round of matches to decide who will represent Africa at Rugby World Cup 2015.
Mamy Rakotondraibe, Country Manager, DHL Express Madagascar said; "DHL has a long standing association with Rugby around the world, and we are delighted to be a partner of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour visiting Madagascar, helping to celebrate and support the significant growth of the sport in our country. This is an outstanding opportunity for local fans to see the most revered prize in Rugby, the Webb Ellis Cup. DHL are proud to bring the Trophy as Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 to Madagascar, where support for Rugby is as strong as DHL's commitment to the Game.”
Tour gains momentum
The Trophy arrives from Fiji where it spent three days visiting Rugby clubs, schools and communities on Viti Levu where it received a colourful reception wherever it went, before taking centre stage at Churchill Park where Fiji defeated The Cook Islands to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015. To view the video click here.
Prior to Fiji the Webb Ellis Cup was in Sydney, Australia where it visited the Blue Mountains and then back in May the Trophy was in Tokyo for when Japan qualified for Rugby World Cup 2015. To view the videos click here.