With excitement building ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015, 17 landmark venues across England and Wales will play host to team welcome ceremonies as the world's best teams are officially welcomed to the tournament.

The ceremonies will be a celebration of the team's achievements and will include team friends and family as well as the local community. The ceremonies will be an official welcome to England and Wales for the team, featuring the presentation of tournament caps and Rugby World Cup 2015 participation medals.

Iconic venues

Taking place in venues including Hampton Court Palace, Eastbourne Bandstand and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, the 20 welcome ceremonies will help broaden the reach of the tournament and involve the host cities.

The selected venues are as follows:  

  • Thursday, 10 September – Fiji - Hampton Court Palace
  • Friday, 11 September – New Zealand - Tower of London
  • Friday, 11 September – Samoa - Brighton Dome
  • Friday, 11 September – Japan - Brighton Dome
  • Saturday, 12 September – England - Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
  • Saturday, 12 September – Tonga - Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Sunday, 13 September – South Africa - Eastbourne Bandstand
  • Sunday, 13 September – USA - HM Naval Base Portsmouth
  • Monday, 14 September – France - Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
  • Monday, 14 September – Argentina - Haileybury, Hertfordshire
  • Monday, 14 September – Italy - Hampton Court Palace
  • Monday, 14 September – Georgia -St George's, Bristol
  • Monday, 14 September – Uruguay - Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff
  • Tuesday, 15 September – Australia - Assembly Rooms in Bath
  • Tuesday, 15 September – Canada - Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
  • Thursday, 17 September – Romania - Christ Church Spitalfields, London
  • Thursday, 17 September – Scotland - Gloucester Cathedral
  • Thursday, 17 September – Namibia Hampton Court Palace
  • Monday, 21 September – Ireland - Burton Town Hall
  • Monday, 21 September – Wales - Guildhall, London


Managing Director of England Rugby 2015 Steve Brown said: "We are delighted to have secured these fantastic venues to host our welcome ceremonies for the teams. These landmark locations from across England and Wales broaden the reach of the tournament and will be great settings for us to welcome the players and management. These events will be a celebration of the team's achievements, alongside a warm local welcome as the 20 best teams arrive for Rugby World Cup 2015.”

Celebration of rugby

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Rugby World Cup 2015 is about communities and teams uniting to celebrate rugby, sport and friendship and these official team welcome ceremonies really will set the tone for the tournament. Representing your team on the greatest of stages is the pinnacle of any player's career and the culmination of years of dedication and passion. Britain is renowned for its exceptional warm welcome and love of major events and I am sure that these ceremonies the length of breadth of England and Wales will be very special and cherished by both the teams and welcoming communities alike.”

Each ceremony will have four cap and medal bearers which will be 16 to 24 year olds representing the legacy of Rugby World Cup 2015.  They are selected from local clubs and educational institutions and include players, Young Rugby Ambassadors and students from schools that are part of the RFU's All Schools programme.

Strong legacy

RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger said: "It is great that these welcome ceremonies are involving people who represent our ongoing legacy work. We have medal bearers from not only the All Schools programme, but also Young Rugby Ambassadors and young club players from the 16 to 24 age group. There will also be 1,000 people representing grassroots rugby clubs invited to attend the ceremonies, which shows the strength of connection between all levels of the game.”

Each ceremony will feature a performance of the official Rugby World Cup anthem, World in Union, sung by school choirs which were selected following a selection process, led by leading independent charity Youth Sport Trust, which was open to all schools in England and Wales. The choirs are from a mixture of state and private schools with both primary and secondary age groups involved. They vary in size from 18 to 50 pupils and perform in a range of musical styles, including choral and gospel.

The schools are as follows:

  • Thurstable School from Tiptree, Essex, will welcome Fiji
  • St Angela's Ursuline School from Forest Gate, London, will welcome New Zealand
  • Chestnuts Primary School from Bletchley, Milton Keynes will welcome Samoa
  • Westdene Primary School from Brighton will welcome Japan
  • Longcroft School from Beverley, East Yorkshire, will welcome England
  • Bishop's Cleeve Primary Academy from Cheltenham will welcome Tonga
  • Eastbourne College will welcome South Africa
  • Queen Elizabeth's School from Wimborne Minster, Dorset, will welcome USA
  • Trinity School from Croydon will welcome France
  • Haileybury from Hertfordshire will welcome Argentina
  • The Queen's Church of England Primary School, Richmond, will welcome Italy
  • St Brendan's Sixth Form College from Bristol, will welcome Georgia
  • Hawthorn Primary School from Pontypridd Wales, will welcome Uruguay
  • The Maynard School from Exeter will welcome Australia
  • Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen from Bethesda, Gwynedd in Wales, will welcome Canada
  • St Aubyn's School from Woodford Green, Essex, will welcome Romania
  • Isbourne Valley School from Gloucestershire will welcome Scotland
  • Chase Bridge Primary School from Twickenham will welcome Namibia
  • Alderman's Green Primary School from Coventry will welcome Ireland
  • St Mary's Preparatory and Choir School from Reigate will welcome Wales