The Webb Ellis Cup, rugby’s most coveted silverware, arrived in Heidelberg today and was welcomed by the German National Team at the National training camp.
On the back of an historic second place finish at the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage in Marseille in November, the team are busy preparing for the upcoming 2018/2019 Rugby Europe International Championship, which the Black Eagles open against Belgium in Brussels on the 9 February.
Former England and British and Irish Lions Coach, Mike Ford, who was appointed Germany’s Head Coach in September, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour to Heidelberg. It is a great opportunity for the team to see the unique Webb Ellis Cup and be motivated and inspired by its presence. Germany is a very ambitious team and I am so proud of the players and what they put out in Marseille – to finish second at the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage shows their determination and passion for the game and we look forward to the start of our Rugby Europe campaign next week bolstered by today’s visit.”
“Rugby is certainly growing and gaining interest in Germany, especially on the back of the team’s performance in Marseille so we hope that giving fans the opportunity to see the Webb Ellis Cup will only help to grow the game and the fan base here.”
Not only inspiring the elite players, the Webb Ellis Cup was also on display at the Baden-Württemberg youth festival at the RGH club in Heidelberg where players aged 7 to 12 competed in the tournament before taking the opportunity to be part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour.
Manuel Wilhelm, DRV Sporting Director, said on the Tour, “We are immensely proud that the Rugby World Cup is yet again in Germany and I think there has been a huge spike of interest since the Webb Ellis Cup was here on the last Trophy Tour. We’ve seen rugby grow all over the country in the last few years and to see 500 people gather in Berlin yesterday to welcome the Webb Ellis Cup was fantastic. With the Trophy Tour now in Heidelberg, the heart of German rugby, and tomorrow travelling to Cologne and then Bonn, we are just are very proud to be part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour journey – and we hope to see the Cup again when Germany compete at the 2023 Rugby World Cup!”
The Tour, which arrived in Germany yesterday, has already engaged with over 500 rugby fans following a welcome from players from clubs across Berlin at Rugby Klub 03, Berlin.
Tomorrow the Trophy Tour will be welcomed at the RheinEnergie Stadion by fans, players and officials from the city of Cologne. World Rugby CEO, Brett Gosper, will join the Trophy Tour and meet with the rugby community and organisers from ‘Rugby United’ who are currently running a refugee rugby initiative, using the power of sport to engage and inspire.
On Wednesday, the Webb Ellis Cup will visit Bonn where riders from the ‘Race to Rugby World Cup’, supported by Rugby World Cup 2019 official partner DHL, will pass through Germany. The race sees rugby fans Ron Rutland and James Owens cycle 20,093km from London to Tokyo, through 26 countries and over 231 days, raising funds for ChildFund Pass It Back; World Rugby’s Impact Beyond Partner for Rugby World Cup 2019. The riders will be welcomed by DHL, the Webb Ellis Cup, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper, DRV President Robin J. Stalker and members of the national teams.