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Tackle sculpture marks Rugby World Cup role

Rugby Borough Council has been presented with a bronze sculpture commemorating the council’s role in Rugby World Cup 2015.

Cllr Michael Stokes (L), Leader of Rugby Borough Council, accepts the sculpture from Neil Snowball, Chief Operating Officer of England 2015.
Cllr Michael Stokes (L), Leader of Rugby Borough Council, accepts the sculpture from Neil Snowball, Chief Operating Officer of England 2015. Published Friday, 7th April 2017

The sculpture, depicting two rugby players mid-tackle, was presented by Neil Snowball, Chief Operating Officer of England Rugby 2015, to Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, at a brief ceremony last night (6 April 2017).

The sculptures were commissioned by England 2015, the organisation created to run the world cup in 2015, and presented to each host city on the day that they hosted their final match. But because Rugby hosted an official Fanzone but no matches, there was no obvious opportunity for the presentation ceremony.

That opportunity finally came at a special screening of the documentary film Beyond the Tryline, which tells the behind the scenes story of Rugby World Cup 2015. The screening was hosted by Pierre Deschamps, the film’s director, at the World Rugby Hall of Fame, and attended by representatives from the borough council, World Rugby, England 2015, local rugby clubs and other invited guests.

Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “I was proud to accept this magnificent sculpture on behalf of the town where the game began, and all Rugbeians

“Our status as an official host city for Rugby World Cup 2015 was graciously given us by England 2015 even though Rugby is not a city and didn’t host any matches, and it put us well and truly in the global spotlight.

Since the tournament our relationship with World Rugby has gone from strength to strength, and I know that there will be further opportunities to promote Rugby as a visitor destination.”

An economic impact report found that Rugby’s economy benefited by three pounds for every pound invested in Rugby World Cup 2015, with forty thousand visitors to the Fanzone and cultural festival during the tournament period.

The cast bronze sculpture, with the inscription “Presented to Rugby Borough Council. Thank you for your contribution to RWC2015”, will be displayed at the Rugby visitor centre.

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