- More than 90 clubs and CBs in the Grand Slam Room
- Area 2 Lead Up & Legacy Group is off and running
Photo: Getty Images
A star-studded launch event at Twickenham Stadium was the stage for rugby clubs in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Oxfordshire to begin nominating their ‘Cup Champions’ for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Current England internationals Alex Goode and Joe Launchbury joined 2003 World Cup winner Kyran Bracken to introduce the area’s Lead Up & Legacy Group whose aim is for clubs, counties, sports partnerships and businesses to spend the next two years and beyond making the most of the world’s third largest sporting event coming to England.
Both the date of the launch on September 18 and the venue had immense resonance as it marked exactly two years to go before England kick off the 2015 World Cup at the Home of England Rugby.
Eager representatives of more than 90 local rugby clubs and Constituent Bodies (CBs) were welcomed by Bracken, the former England scrum half who brought along his 2003 winner's medal, for a buffet dinner and speeches in the Grand Slam Room.
The ultimate prize – the Webb Ellis Cup – was on display, and that and the presence of Saracens full back Goode and London Wasps lock Launchbury prompted an inspirational evening of stories and souvenir photos.
Clubs are being encouraged to nominate their ‘Cup Champions’, who will be volunteers with the energy and enthusiasm to bring new participants into rugby, welcome back lapsed players and join together with business, charities and county sports partnerships in publicising the 2015 World Cup when 20 teams will play 48 matches at 13 venues including Twickenham, Milton Keynes, Wembley and London’s Olympic Stadium.
Bracken said: “You guys, the volunteers at the clubs and Constituent Bodies, are the heart and soul of our game. You make everything work.
“Rugby is more than just a sport – it teaches you trust and loyalty and respect, and we are all part of a family.
“The 2015 Rugby World Cup in England is a fantastic chance to increase participation in the sport, and the Cup Champions will have a big part to play.”
Debbie Jevans, CEO of the organising committee England Rugby 2015, guided the audience through the busy schedule that will unfold over the next two years, including the volunteer programme that will recruit 6000 volunteers, with a target of 75 per cent of them coming from rugby clubs.
Nick Cole from the Oxfordshire CB, who originated the ‘Cup Champion’ idea, described it as a “six-year journey” and a “catalyst to new ideas and new ways of doing things in rugby clubs”.
And Vic Luck, the chair of the Area 2 Legacy Group, summed up: “It’s two years and counting until this fantastic festival of rugby in England, and two years to work on building a legacy for the game.
“We would love every club to nominate one or more ‘Cup Champions’ who will work with the Lead Up & Legacy Group to share examples of good practice, pull in other organisations and create new ideas and networks.
“Our task as a group is to make the first contact with the businesses, charities and other organisations who want to engage with the idea of legacy, and match them to the clubs and their needs.
“That may be in the provision of staff – to mentor and support club fundraising – or finance to enable schools to take up the game.
“The ‘Cup Champions’ will help knit it all together, supporting the England 2015 legacy strands that include recruiting and retaining players, coaches and administrators, and effective and efficient facilities.
“It is all about strengthening our member clubs and growing the game in the communities around them.”
Anyone interested in becoming a ‘Cup Champion’ should contact their local representative on the Area 2 Lead Up & Legacy Group: Vic Luck (chair), Andrew Harris (Berks – email@example.com), Mark Campion (Bucks – firstname.lastname@example.org), Richard Hornblow (Hampshire – email@example.com), Dave Roberts (Herts – firstname.lastname@example.org), Eddie Keal and Louise Latter (Middlesex – email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org), Nick Cole (Oxfordshire – email@example.com), Derek Wyatt (Oxford University – Derekwyatt@aol.com), Chris Fowke (Army – firstname.lastname@example.org), Simon Cooper (Greater London Authority), Ben Calveley (RFU), Gavin Williams (RFU Area Manager), Kyran Bracken (England Players) and Mick Hogan (ER2015).