Excitement for Rugby World Cup 2015 has started to build in Romania following a visit from the Webb Ellis Cup.
The iconic trophy was in Bucharest for two days as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour and received a warm welcome from the rugby community.
Watch the highlights from Romania
Players get close up of the cup
The future generation of Romanian rugby players got an inspirational visit from the Webb Ellis Cup when it dropped into Colegiul Tehnic Dinicu Golescu, an institution which already has a strong rugby programme and has seen the likes of Valentin Calafeteanu, Andrei Radoi and Catalin Fercu pass through its doors.
Some of Romania’s current rugby stars got a chance to see what they will be competing for later this year when the trophy visited the home of Romanian rugby at the Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf. Players from the Superliga clubs came together for an event to celebrate the visit of the Webb Ellis Cup.
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said: “With excitement for the tournament starting to grow, it is great to see the appetite for rugby in a country where the game continues to develop. I would like to thank everyone who hosted us during our visit to Bucharest and we are now looking forward to welcoming the Romanian team to Rugby World Cup 2015 in September.”
Guest of honour
The visit to Bucharest also saw the trophy hosted by the British Embassy for a special reception which was attended by members of the local rugby community, as well as visiting iconic locations around the city which included the Cantacuzino Palace and Romanian Parliament Building.
Rugby World Cup, the third largest global sporting event behind the Olympics and Football World Cup, takes place in England and Cardiff between 18 September and 31 October. The tournament will be hosted in 13 venues in 11 cities across the country. Romania are in Pool D with France, Ireland, Canada and Italy. They will play their matches at the Olympic Stadium and Wembley Stadium in London, Leicester City Stadium and Sandy Park in Exeter.
Remaining tickets are on sale at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com, with some currently available for Romania’s match against Ireland on Sunday 27 September and the match against Canada on Tuesday 6 October.
The Trophy Tour, which is the first time rugby’s most coveted prize has been showcased around the world, is being delivered in partnership with Land Rover and DHL – two long supporters of the game and Rugby World Cup 2015 Worldwide Partners.
Land Rover’s latest Least Driven Path took the trophy from Bucharest into the picturesque Prahova County. Romanian rugby legend Romeo Gontineac, who represented his country at four Rugby World Cups and coached the side through the 2011 campaign, accompanied the Webb Ellis Cup on a challenging drive through the scenic Bucegi Mountains on a visit to the historic Cantacuzino Castle.
The trophy then continued to nearby Aurora Băicoi Rugby Club, the first rugby club established in the area. Aurora Băicoi was founded in 2012 to address the growing local appetite to play grassroots rugby and now boasts four teams (under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16).
Gontineac, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, said: “It has been an inspiring experience to come here with Land Rover and give the children of Aurora Băicoi Rugby Club the unique opportunity to see the iconic Webb Ellis Cup. The children have shown some excellent skills and it is exciting that a passion for rugby has grown so quickly in this area. I think we might have seen some future Romanian Rugby World Cup stars in the making!”
Coordinating Manager of the Land Rover brand in Romania, Mihai Ivanescu, said: “In keeping with Land Rover’s commitment to all levels of the game of rugby, we are proud to have brought the trophy to an area of Romania where rugby is still developing and, in doing so, help England Rugby 2015 grow excitement for Rugby World Cup 2015. Aurora Băicoi Rugby Club is an excellent example of how rugby can bring a community together through a united passion for the game.”
Rugby meets gymnastics
Tuesday afternoon saw the Webb Ellis Cup visit the Complexul Sportiv National Lia Manoliu for DHL’s Rugby v the World Challenge. In another unique encounter, rugby went up against gymnastics, with Ireland’s all-time leading point scorer Ronan O’Gara facing Romanian gymnastics legend Andreea Raducan. In a drama-filled encounter, the pair gave their all as they sought to emerge victorious and claim the title of Romania’s Rugby v the World champion.
Managing Director for DHL International Romania, Daniel Kearvell, said: “DHL Express was delighted to have safely delivered the Rugby World Cup Trophy to and from Bucharest, demonstrating the speed, precision and teamwork which makes us such a natural partner of Rugby World Cup 2015. Through our interactions with schools, local communities, customers and colleagues, it was clear that there is a huge amount of excitement and anticipation around the tournament in Romania. As supporters and partners of Romanian rugby, DHL Express Romania would like to wish all the best to all teams, particularly Romania, for the tournament.”
International celebration of rugby
The Trophy Tour is visiting 15 countries over 12 months as part of a celebration of rugby in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2015. Previous destinations have included Japan, Australia, Fiji, Madagascar, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, USA, UAE, China and Italy.
The remaining stops will see the Webb Ellis Cup visit Canada and Germany in April followed a trip to France in May. The trophy will then embark on a 100-day journey around the UK and Ireland in the build-up to the start of the tournament.