With excitement building ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015, seventeen landmark venues across England and Wales will play host to Team Welcome Ceremonies as the world’s best teams are officially welcomed to the tournament.
The ceremonies will be a celebration of the team’s achievements and will include team friends and family as well as the local community. The ceremonies will be an official welcome to England and Wales for the team featuring their presentation of tournament caps and Rugby World Cup 2015 participation medals.
Taking place in venues including Hampton Court Palace, Eastbourne Bandstand and Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, the 20 Welcome Ceremonies will help broaden the reach of the tournament.
The selected venues are as follows:
Thursday, September 10 – The Welcome Ceremony for Fiji will take place at Hampton Court Palace
Friday, September 11 – The Welcome Ceremony for New Zealand will take place at the Tower of London
Friday, September 11 – The Welcome Ceremony for Samoa will take place at Brighton Dome
Friday, September 11 – The Welcome Ceremonies for Japan will take place at Brighton Dome
Saturday, September 12 – The Welcome Ceremony for England will take place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Saturday, September 12 – The Welcome Ceremony for Tonga will take place at Cheltenham Town Hall
Sunday, September 13 – The Welcome Ceremony for South Africa will take place at Eastbourne Bandstand
Sunday, September 13 – The Welcome Ceremony for USA will take place at HM Naval Base Portsmouth
Monday, September 14 – The Welcome Ceremony for France will take place in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Monday, September 14 – The Welcome Ceremony for Argentina will take place at Haileybury, Hertfordshire
Monday, September 14 – The Welcome Ceremony for Italy will take place at Hampton Court Palace
Monday, September 14 – The Welcome Ceremony for Georgia will take place at St George’s, Bristol
Monday, September 14 – The Welcome Ceremony for Uruguay will take place at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff
Tuesday, September 15 – The Welcome Ceremony for Australia will take place at the Assembly Rooms in Bath
Tuesday, September 15 – The Welcome Ceremony for Canada will take place at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Thursday, September 17 – The Welcome Ceremony for Romania will take place at Christ Church Spitalfields, London
Thursday, September 17 – The Welcome Ceremony for Scotland will take place at Gloucester Cathedral
Thursday, September 17 – The Welcome Ceremony for Namibia will take place at Hampton Court Palace
Monday, September 21 – The Welcome Ceremony for Ireland will take place at Burton Town Hall
Monday, September 21 – The Welcome Ceremony for Wales will take place at the Guildhall, London
Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, Steve Brown, said: “We are delighted to have secured these fantastic venues to host our Welcome Ceremonies for the teams. These landmark locations from across England and Wales broaden the reach of the tournament and will be great settings for us to welcome the players and management.
“These events will be a celebration of the team’s achievements, alongside a warm local welcome as the 20 best teams arrive for Rugby World Cup 2015.”
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “Rugby World Cup 2015 is about communities and teams uniting to celebrate rugby, sport and friendship and these official Team Welcome Ceremonies really will set the tone for the tournament. Representing your team on the greatest of stages is the pinnacle of any player’s career and the culmination of years of dedication and passion.
“Britain is renowned for its exceptional warm welcome and love of major events and I am sure that these ceremonies the length of breadth of England and Wales will be very special and cherished by both the teams and welcoming communities alike.”
Each ceremony will have four Cap and Medal Bearers which will be 16 to 24-year-olds representing the legacy of Rugby World Cup 2015. They are selected from local clubs and educational institutions and include players, Young Rugby Ambassadors and students from schools that are part of the RFU’s All Schools programme.
RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger commented: “It is important that these Welcome Ceremonies involve people who represent our ongoing legacy work and we have Medal Bearers from not only the All Schools programme, but also Young Rugby Ambassadors and young club players from the 16 to 24 age group.
“There will also be 1,000 people representing grassroots rugby clubs from the length and breadth of the country who are invited to attend the ceremonies, which shows the strength of connection between all levels of the game.”
Each ceremony will feature a performance of the official Rugby World Cup anthem, ‘World in Union‘, sung by school choirs which were selected following a selection process, led by leading independent charity Youth Sport Trust, which was open to all schools in England and Wales.
The choirs are from a mixture of state and private schools with both primary and secondary age groups involved. They vary in size from 18 to 50 pupils and perform in a range of musical styles, including choral and gospel.
The schools are as follows:
Thurstable School from Tiptree, Essex, will welcome Fiji
St. Angela’s Ursuline School from Forest Gate, London, will welcome New Zealand
Chestnuts Primary School from Bletchley, Milton Keynes will welcome Samoa
Westdene Primary School from Brighton will welcome Japan
Longcroft School from Beverley, East Yorkshire, will welcome England
Bishop’s Cleeve Primary Academy from Cheltenham will welcome Tonga
Eastbourne College will welcome South Africa
Queen Elizabeth’s School from Wimborne Minster, Dorset, will welcome USA
Trinity School from Croydon will welcome France
Haileybury from Hertfordshire will welcome Argentina
The Queen’s Church of England Primary School, Richmond, will welcome Italy
St. Brendan’s Sixth Form College from Bristol, will welcome Georgia
Hawthorn Primary School from Pontypridd Wales, will welcome Uruguay
The Maynard School from Exeter will welcome Australia
Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen from Bethesda, Gwynedd in Wales, will welcome Canada
St. Aubyn’s School from Woodford Green, Essex, will welcome Romania
Isbourne Valley School from Gloucestershire will welcome Scotland
Chase Bridge Primary School from Twickenham will welcome Namibia
Alderman’s Green Primary School from Coventry will welcome Ireland
St. Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School from Reigate will welcome Wales