Maori mark the start of the 2011 Rugby World Cup

MHRA-09-09-11 FLAG AUG68 (7)'Ceremony to mark the beginning of the Rugby World Cup, Webb Ellis Statue, Rugby.
MHRA-09-09-11 FLAG AUG68 (7)'Ceremony to mark the beginning of the Rugby World Cup, Webb Ellis Statue, Rugby.
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A TROUPE of Maori marked the beginning of the Rugby World Cup last Friday with an electrifying performance of the haka before the Webb Ellis statue.

The group, part of a New Zealand heritage group from London, were invited by Rugby Borough Council to perform at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the beginning of the tournament.

The flags of all 16 competing nations were raised by schoolchildren from Dunchurch primary and St Marie’s primary. The flags will remain outside Rugby school until the tournament ends on October 23.

Elsewhere, Clock Towers Shopping Centre is marking the tournament by challenging shoppers to guess how many rugby balls there are in Manning Walk - the closest to the correct answer will earn someone a BMW Mini Cooper for a weekend courtesy of Sytner Mini, Coventry.

Mark Pawsey MP also arrived back yesterday after a visit to New Zealand with the Parliamentary Lions rugby team. During the trip, which he paid for himself, Mr Pawsey presented a rugby ball from the town to New Zealand’s sports minister, Murray McCully, in a gesture billed as the world’s longest pass.