With one year to go to Rugby World Cup 2015, Prince Harry has been appointed as Honorary President of England Rugby 2015, the organising committee delivering Rugby World Cup 2015.Prince Harry is a keen Rugby fan, and Vice Patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU). In his role as Honorary President of England Rugby 2015, the Prince will play an important role in welcoming the 20 qualifying nations to Rugby World Cup 2015.
To mark the one year to go milestone, the Prince took part in an exclusive photo shoot with Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and England Rugby 2015 Ambassador Jonny Wilkinson.
In the last year, England Rugby 2015 has made strong progress with planning and delivery of the tournament. Key milestones include;
- Tickets now on general sale until September 29, 2014
- Over 350,000 tickets sold to rugby fans through Rugby clubs in England and Wales through the Rugby Community Ticketing Programme (May to July 2014)
- 41 Team Bases throughout the country selected by the qualifying teams
- Over 20,000 applications received for the 6,000 places in 'The Pack', the official Tournament Volunteer Programme
- 'Try Out' selection centres have interviewed over 5,000 applicants for 'The Pack' so far
- The International Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour has visited five countries on its 15 nation tour
In the next 12 months, planning for the tournament will continue at pace. Fans will find out which tickets they have successfully applied for in October 2014. Any remaining tickets will go back on sale in November 2014.
The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour will visit Argentina and Uruguay, USA, Dubai, China Canada, Italy, Romania, Germany and France.
Planning is underway for a 100 day Trophy Tour, taking the Webb Ellis Cup to England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales from June 10 to September 18, 2015.
Detailed transport plans for each of the 13 match venues have been developed, and city delivery plans are in place for all the host cities. Venues for the official RWC 2015 Fanzones around the country in each host city will be announced next year.
England Rugby 2015 CEO, Debbie Jevans, commented: "With one year to go to the tournament, we are delighted to announce that Prince Harry has agreed to be our Honorary President. The Prince is a great Rugby fan and recently inspired us all with the Invictus Games. We have no doubt that he will help us achieve our aim of staging a tournament that reaches out to new and existing Rugby fans.
"Our plans are fully on track and we are very pleased with the demand for tickets since they went on general sale on September 12. We still have a year of hard work ahead of us but with the team bases announced, the venues and city plans being finalised, excellent support from our stakeholders and tickets on sale we are able to move forward with confidence.”
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, added: "One year to go is a major milestone on the road to a Rugby World Cup that promises to be a very special and record-breaking global celebration of Rugby and the host nation.
"Rugby World Cup 2015 is on track to be the best-attended, most viewed and most-engaged with tournament to date, furthering the growth and development of Rugby worldwide.”
Minister for Sport and Tourism, Helen Grant, said: "I am delighted with the progress that the England Rugby 2015 team are making with one year to go until the start of the tournament. Prince Harry will be a fantastic Honorary President for the competition, with his great love of the sport and his experience putting on a fantastic Invictus Games.
"Rugby World Cup 2015 will further build on this country's excellent reputation for putting on major sporting events. It will leave a great legacy for the sport, boost tourism and help grow the economy.”
RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said:” With a year to go to the tournament, the RFU is determined that hosting the Tournament will enable us to grow Rugby in England and to create a meaningful legacy for the game. With that in mind, we are already investing and activating in a variety of key areas. I cannot think of anyone more appropriate than Prince Harry, who loves his Rugby, to be Honorary President of England Rugby 2015 to help us achieve that objective.”