McCaw hands over Webb Ellis Cup as 2015 countdown continues

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November 19, 2013 (ISN) – Rugby World Cup 2011 winning captain Richie McCaw returned the Webb Ellis Cup to Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset in the official handover ceremony at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in Dublin on Monday.

With less than two years to go until Rugby World Cup 2015 takes place in England, the Webb Ellis Cup will now be used to promote the eighth edition of the showpiece event which takes place from 18 September to 31 October 2015.

McCaw held aloft the Cup just over two years ago at Eden Park after the All Blacks beat France 8-7 to end a 24-year wait for a second RWC success and in the two years since the trophy has toured New Zealand and allowed thousands of fans to get up close to it.

Last year, the Great Rugby Road Trip took the Webb Ellis Cup – affectionately known as ‘Wiremu’ during its stay in New Zealand – to 41 towns and cities from the far north to the deep south of the country.

The cup recently embarked on another epic journey with Rugby World Cup 2015 official logistics partner DHL, leaving New Zealand and stopping off in the three other countries to have lifted to trophy before arriving in Ireland on Sunday.

RWC 1987 winner Grant Fox accompanied the cup on its epic journey and was joined at each stop by DHL ambassadors George Gregan, Joel Stransky, John Smit and Lawrence Dallaglio, who have all held aloft the trophy.

The cup left New Zealand’s shores on 26 October, crossing the Tasman Sea to Sydney where it was met by RWC 1999 winner and 2003 runner-up Gregan, who joined Fox in a coaching session with local children.

It was straight on to South Africa then with stopovers in Johannesburg and Cape Town where it was met by Joel Stransky – who kicked the winning drop goal in extra-time in the RWC 1995 final – and RWC 2007 winning captain John Smit respectively.

The cup took the skies in a helicopter over both cities with Stransky and Smit stopping off at schools in underprivileged areas for coaching clinics with youngsters given a potential once in a lifetime opportunity to see it up close.

England Rugby 2015 ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio welcomed the cup to English soil at East Midlands Airport on 30 October, just in time for celebrations to mark 10 years since Martin Johnson lifted the trophy in Sydney.

“There are a select few people that have had the privilege of lifting this trophy, so to have been able to meet some of the legends who have done so in the past week has been truly memorable,” said Fox upon arrival in England.

“It’s been a long, yet worthwhile trip and its fantastic to be part of the DHL team that have brought the trophy onto English soil two years away from what I have no doubt will be an exceptionally successful tournament.”

RWC 1987 winner Sean Fitzpatrick and former Ireland captain Keith Wood were the final DHL ambassadors on hand to welcome the Webb Ellis Cup to Dublin, hosting a special Q and A with competition winners.

“Each Rugby World Cup takes our sport to new levels on and off the field, reaching and engaging new audiences and inspiring new participants. New Zealand 2011 was a memorable, exceptional and ultimately successful Rugby World Cup for the host nation, the host team and global Rugby,” said Lapasset.

“In receiving our iconic Webb Ellis Cup from the All Blacks we can now look forward to the next Rugby World Cup in England and an event that is on track to welcome new members to the Rugby family from new communities across the host nation and beyond.”

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About Rugby World Cup: Rugby World Cup is the financial engine behind unprecedented investment and growth in Rugby worldwide. The net Rugby World Cup surplus from the commercial success of France 2007 and New Zealand 2011 has enabled the International Rugby Board to invest more than £150 million in the Game between 2009 and 2012 and commit an anticipated injection of more than £180 million between 2013 and 2016 to underwrite a large range of major funding initiatives including annual national Union grants and strategic investments focusing on growing participation and increasing competition across all 117 national Member Unions affiliated to the IRB.

About England 2015: Rugby World Cup 2015, hosted in England between 18 September and 31 October, will be a celebration of Rugby and its unique character-building values, exciting and inspiring the nation and the world to play and support the Game. England Rugby 2015 are the Organising Committee for Rugby World Cup 2015 and will deliver the six week tournament, hosted in 10 English cities and in Cardiff, Wales. 13 Match Venues will play host to the 48 games that will celebrate and engage over 2.5million spectators, including over 400,000 international travelling fans.

Register with the England Rugby 2015 Press office here: http://www.sotic.co.uk/england_2015.php

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