Rugby comes together for the World Cup
A HOST of organisations in the birthplace of the game have teamed up to celebrate this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The tournament kicks off on 20 September, when the hosts take on Russia at the Tokyo Stadium - the first of 48 matches to crown the world champions and winners of the Webb Ellis Cup.
The cup started its journey to Japan in November when the official Trophy Tour was launched at the World Rugby Hall of Fame in the birthplace of the game.
And Rugby Borough Council has joined forces with Rugby First, Rugby School, Cemex and a number of shops, pubs and restaurants to organise town centre dressing and a programme of events to celebrate the tournament.
The programme's theme has been inspired by the town's historic status as the place where the game began and aims to celebrate both the sport and Japanese culture.
Cllr Jill Simpson-Vince, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: "We're delighted to be working closely with Rugby First, Rugby School and Cemex to co-ordinate the town's World Cup celebrations.
"Rugby's historic status as the birthplace of the game and the home of the World Rugby Hall of Fame puts the town in the global spotlight during the World Cup, and town centre businesses have welcomed the chance to get involved and make the most of the opportunities the tournament brings.
"We're looking forward to unveiling the full details of the programme in the coming weeks."
Rich Warren, Rugby First's operations director, said the programme aimed to bring the atmosphere of the Rugby World Cup to the town centre during the tournament.
He added: "We've been exploring a number of ideas with town centre businesses and have been encouraged by the enthusiasm in Rugby to embrace the economic opportunities the World Cup brings."
The Rugby World Cup takes place over seven weeks, with the final kicking off at Yokohama's International Stadium at 9am GMT on Saturday 2 November.
Amanda Hunter, Rugby School's head of marketing and communications, said: "Rugby School is delighted to be involved in the town's exciting plans to celebrate the Rugby World Cup 2019 at the birthplace of the game.
"We can make the incredible claim to have invented the game and Rugby First is leading the way in capitalising on this sporting history in a World Cup year to help boost the town's economy and benefit the local community."
For information about events in Rugby, visit The Rugby Town website: www.therugbytown.co.uk