The greatest prize in rugby will make its way to the birthplace of the game as part of preparations for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.
The Webb Ellis Cup - named after the Rugby School boy who reputedly picked up a football and invented a new sport - comes to town on Monday August 17 as part of a national tour.
It has so far completed 12 of its 15 international visits with Canada, Germany and France still to go – and Debbie Jevans, who stepped down from her role as Rugby World Cup chief executive last week for personal reasons, hopes everyone will make the most of the rare opportunity.
She said: “The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour will be the perfect opportunity to excite and engage fans across the UK and Ireland and make 2015 feel like the year of the rugby nation. Delivering a continuous 100 day tour means we can give as many fans as possible the opportunity to see the Webb Ellis Cup and tell us their rugby story as they countdown to their own Tournament experience.
The trophy’s destination is Twickenham, where it is due to arrive on Friday September 18 in time for the tournament’s opening ceremony.
Rugby is joining in the celebrations in a number of ways. Banners are currently hanging in prominent places around town, with a ‘Fanzone’ marquee, where up to 2,000 people can drink and watch games, being created by the John Barford car park. There will also be special educational courses in which youngsters will learn about the ‘values of the game’.
We can give as many fans as possible the opportunity to see the Webb Ellis Cup and tell us their rugby storyDebbie Jevans
World Rugby chairman, Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby World Cup 2015 is a tournament that will have the fans and teams at heart and we are excited about the unprecedented opportunity that the Trophy Tour and Fanzones will provide for fans to really engage with the tournament no matter where they are.
“With six months to go until England 2015 kicks off, World Rugby is confident of a very special and record-breaking celebration of rugby that will inspire new fans and participants around the world.”
Fans will have the opportunity to buy further tickets over the coming months as up to a third of a million additional tickets are due to go on general sale. This will be a mixture of returns from the tournament’s commercial programme, extra seats from the venues and resale.
Organisers are yet to specify where in town the cup will be displayed.