The Webb Ellis Cup has completed its first day in South Africa as part of the fifth leg of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour.
Yesterday morning the Trophy visited Hoerskool Waterkloof in Pretoria where children from the school, along with groups from St Peters, Pretoria Technical High School and Elarduspark got to show off their Rugby playing skills in a coaching clinic which was led by former South Africa coach, Ian McIntosh and Rugby World Cup 2007 winner, Gary Botha. Land Rover supports a number of schools through its South African dealer network – a total of 31 dealers who support local schools within their communities.
In the evening the Webb Ellis Cup was guest of honour at a reception hosted by the British High Commission at the Trade Commissioners residence in Johannesburg. It was joined on stage by Rugby World Cup 1995 winner, Joel Stransky, former England captain, Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and Rugby World Cup 2007 finalist, Martin Corry and former England sevens captain, Ollie Phillips, who spoke about Rugby careers.
British High Commissioner to South Africa, Judith Macgregor, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Webb Ellis Cup to South Africa, a country with a rich rugby heritage. The Trophy has a particular resonance in South Africa and particularly Johannesburg, where South Africa won the World Cup at Ellis Park in 1995. We all remember that iconic moment when former President Nelson Mandela, sporting Francois Pienaar’s shirt, lifted the Webb Ellis Cup to incredible emotions in a free and democratic South Africa. I look forward to watching South Africa in action 20 years later at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.”
Today the Trophy will travel down to Cape Town for two days during which time it will visit a number of locations in and around the city. Tomorrow it will be given a Royal Navy welcome on board HMS Iron Duke as she comes into dock at the V&A Waterfront, with the crew set to show off their Rugby skills on deck. HMS Iron Duke will also host local school children on board the ship to view the Webb Ellis Cup and meet Rugby legends. The Trophy will then be taken to iconic locations on the V&A Waterfront and then visit the Springbok Experience, before going on display at a sunset reception on board HMS Iron Duke.
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said: “We are very excited to be taking the Webb Ellis Cup to South Africa as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy. We have been delighted by the warm reception that we have received so far during our visits on the Trophy Tour, highlighting the excitement for the game across the globe.
“With a proud Rugby World Cup record, South Africa is no stranger to the Webb Ellis Cup and I have got no doubt that the people of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town will help us make our visit a celebration of Rugby.”
The Trophy Tour, which is being delivered in partnership with Land Rover and DHL – two long supporters of the Game and Rugby World Cup 2015 Worldwide Partners – is the first time Rugby’s most coveted prize has been showcased around the world, visiting 15 countries over 12 months as part of a celebration of Rugby in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2015, hosted in England and Cardiff.
As part of Land Rover’s ongoing commitment to build excitement for next year’s showpiece in England, the latest instalment of the ‘Least Driven Path’ will again take the Webb Ellis Cup to places it has never been before. Accompanied by Springbok legends and Rugby World Cup winners Chester Williams and John Smit, leading referee Craig Joubert and players and management from the local Super Rugby side, The Stormers, Land Rover will visit a remote farm school in the agricultural community of Protem before driving the Trophy onwards to Cape Agulhas, Africa’s most southerly tip.
Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa, Richard Gouverneur, said, “It is an honour for Land Rover to welcome back the prestigious Webb Ellis Cup to our shores. We are proud to introduce the Trophy to a new generation of fans through our dealer partnerships with local schools. We have a range of activities during the trip that will showcase our commitment to all levels of the game from coaching sessions in schools to taking the Trophy to remote places where it has never been on the Least Driven Path, as we continue our aim of growing excitement for Rugby’s showpiece around the world.”
As part of its involvement in the Trophy Tour, DHL will bring its fourth instalment of the Rugby vs the World Challenge to life on Wednesday at DHL Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. Internationally renowned batting king and the world’s third highest run scorer in test cricket history, South African cricket legend Jacques Kallis will go head to head with former England captain and Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Martin Corry in Rugby v Cricket. The DHL Western Province 1st XV will be witness to the two athletes taking each other on in a series of three challenges, including a Rugby kicking, a cricket catching and a neutral challenge, that will test their skills and bring the two sports together in support of DHL celebrating Rugby around the world.
Country Manager, DHL Express South Africa, Hennie Heymans, said; “We are delighted to have this special opportunity of welcoming the Webb Ellis Cup in South Africa for a second time since our Rugby World Cup 2015 partnership announcement tour. We are proud to be a partner of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour and to play a part in celebrating rugby in our country. Moving in excess of two million shipments each day, it is always a great pleasure for us to move extra special cargo, such as the Trophy. We look forward to the opportunity of sharing this unique experience with our DHL staff, customers and South Africa as a whole.”
The visit continues the African leg of the Trophy Tour, having previously spent three days in Madagascar where it received a colourful reception during its visits to Rugby clubs and communities while also highlighting the work of the UN World Food Programme. The visit concluded with the Trophy taking centre stage at the Mahamasina Stadium for the climax of the Confederation Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Div 1A which saw Namibia qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Prior to Madagascar the Webb Ellis Cup was in Fiji, Australia and Japan.