- Rugby’s coveted prize was welcomed by the Hong Kong Rugby Union at a formal reception attended by members of the rugby community
- The Webb Ellis Cup will be on display at Hong Kong Football Club ahead of Hong Kong v Malaysia on 26 May where vital RWC 2019 qualification points are at stake
- The RWC 2019 Trophy Tour is in Hong Kong from 24-26 May and will also visit local schools, iconic locations and be joined by England’s Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Josh Lewsey
- Rugby World Cup is the world’s third largest global sporting event, Japan 2019 is the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia - an important step in the global development of the game
- The Trophy Tour aims to engage, inspire and excite new and existing fans ahead of Japan 2019
- Project Asia 1 Million, part of the Impact Beyond programme which aims to attract one million new rugby participants by 2020, has already reached over 500,000 people across Asia
- With less than 500 days to go, the Front Row/Supporters’ Club priority ticket ballot is now open
The Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour arrived in Hong Kong this week as the national side prepare to face Malaysia in the Asia Rugby Championship and pick up vital points as part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying process.
Hong Kong, currently in second place in the 2018 Asia Rugby Championship table, one point behind Korea and with a game in hand, need to win the title to progress to the next stage of RWC 2019 qualification. The Asia Rugby Championship 2018 winners will play home and away against Cook Islands in June/July, with the winner on aggregate entering the global repechage tournament. Click here for more on Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification.
In the lead up to the match, the coveted Webb Ellis Cup was formally welcomed by the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) and a delegation representing the rugby family in Hong Kong, including New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup 1987 winner Terry Wright, at the Hong Kong Football Club.
Earlier in the day the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour inspired Hong Kong’s next generation of rugby players as pupils from Jockey Club Sarah Roe School joined students at King George V School where the Webb Ellis Cup was displayed. King George V, a mixed secondary school, has a strong rugby tradition and has produced many of Hong Kong’s male and female internationals. Jockey Club Sarah Roe School delivers weekly rugby programmes for students with additional learning needs in collaboration with the HKRU Community Foundation.
HKRU CEO Robbie McRobbie said: “We are delighted to welcome the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour and on behalf of the Hong Kong Rugby Union and the entire rugby community in Hong Kong we are honoured to host the Webb Ellis Cup. Today we have already seen hundreds of students from King George V and the Jockey Club Sarah Roe schools inspired by rugby’s greatest prize. Engaging the next generation of rugby players and fans is so important and with Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan - the first Rugby World Cup in Asia next year - this is a fantastic opportunity for rugby in Hong Kong. With further community activities planned this week and the chance for the general public to see the Webb Ellis Cup at the Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday we are all very excited to be part of this fantastic programme.
“Saturday’s match between Hong Kong and Malaysia is another important milestone in our journey to Japan 2019 with our RWC 2019 qualification ambitions riding on a top of the table finish in the Asia Rugby Championship. It is wonderful for both the players and spectators to have the Webb Ellis Cup on display, and I'm sure it will prove a great inspiration to both teams.”
The Webb Ellis Cup also visited the Star Ferry Pier at Kowloon Point in Tsim Sha Tsui, capturing Hong Kong’s iconic skyline, and one of the city’s oldest landmarks the Hong Kong Clock Tower.
Today (Friday 25 May), the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour continues to engage young students in Hong Kong, visiting Confucius Hall School which became the HKRU’s first ‘School of Rugby’ in 2013 – a programme that utilises both the sports field and the classroom to encourage youngsters to adopt positive life values.
As part of the Trophy Tour the students at Confucius Hall will get the chance to meet former England international and Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Josh Lewsey and receive a special Get Into Rugby kit, including rugby balls, bibs, cones, whistles and tag belts. The Get Into Rugby programme is part of World Rugby’s strategy to grow the game globally in partnership with member regions and unions, aiming to encourage players of all ages to Try, Play and Stay in rugby. As of the end of November 2017, Asia Rugby boasted over 680,000 Get Into Rugby participants, the most of any region, with 36 per cent of participants female.
After the school visit the Webb Ellis Cup will join the HKRU Community Foundation’s Deaf Rugby programme for a training session. Launched seven years ago, the programme and has already achieved great success, including sending seven men and one woman to the inaugural World Deaf Sevens tournament in Australia last month, delivering an exchange programme with a Cambodian deaf rugby team, and employment of HKRU’s first deaf rugby coach Winnie Cheung, who has been nominated for this year's South China Morning Post Spirit of Hong Kong awards.
On Saturday, the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour will visit the Hong Kong Football Club ground and give fans attending Hong Kong v Malaysia a chance to see the Webb Ellis Cup pre-match.
From Hong Kong the Webb Ellis Cup will travel to Beijing for the sixth leg of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour. The tour aims to inspire new audiences and participants through a programme of community, education and rugby activities.
The two-year tour includes a mix of established and emerging rugby nations and in Asia it will support the dedicated Impact Beyond 2019 legacy programme which aims to attract and retain one million new rugby participants. The project is already making very strong progress in Asia, with over 500,000 already reached through various growing the game programmes.
The tour will also excite the global rugby family and drive fan engagement as Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan approaches. Click here to view the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour schedule.
Rugby World Cup 2019 takes place from 20 September-2 November, 2019. There has been strong demand for Rugby World Cup 2019 with more than 1.5 million ticket applications already received. The Front Row/Supporters’ Club priority ballot application is now open, running between 19 May to 26 June, and fans who are not yet a member are being urged not to miss out by signing-up via www.rugbyworldcup.com/supporters and creating a ticket registration account at www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.