A GROUP of Maori will be helping the town mark the beginning of the Rugby World Cup next week.
The tournament kicks off on Friday September 9, and to celebrate Rugby Borough Council has invited a troupe of Maori - the indigenous people of New Zealand - to perform the traditional haka war dance at a flag-raising ceremony at the Webb Ellis statue at 11.15am and shortly after at the clock tower. The borough council is also sending a Gilbert rugby ball to New Zealand’s sports minister Murray McCully - an act described as ‘the world’s longest pass’.
Presenting it will be Mark Pawsey MP, who will be in New Zealand with Britain’s Parliamentary Lions rugby team – a trip that’s been paid for out of his own pocket.
Mr Pawsey said: “I hope that during my time in New Zealand I can be an ambassador for Rugby and I shall be shamelessly promoting our town.
“I shall be encouraging as many people as possible to come to Rugby as part of the 2015 World Cup celebrations and to see for themselves where it all began.”
He added: “I am very proud to be able to take the good wishes of the headmaster of Rugby School, Rugby Borough Council and the people of Rugby to New Zealand. It is also fantastic to be part of the world’s longest pass, which involves the ball travelling from one side of the globe to the other.”
In another bid to promote the town, the Parliamentary Lions will also be playing on The Close at Rugby School on Sunday October 9. They’ll be playing a guest team, the line up of which will be announced shortly.
Meanwhile the Clock Towers shopping centre will be giving people a chance to meet the new Rugby Lions team and win several rugby-themed prizes and a weekend with a BMW Mini.
Until October 23, shoppers will need to look for the rugby balls located in Manning Walk and guess how many there are for their chance to win.
Shoppers can enter online at www.clocktowersrugby.co.uk or pick up an entry card in the centre.