Rugby World Cup to visit Burghley Horse Trials

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The Rugby World Cup's Webb Ellis Trophy, which will visit the Burghley Horse Trials as part of its tour of the UK and Ireland before the World Cup.
The Rugby World Cup’s Webb Ellis Trophy, which will visit the Burghley Horse Trials as part of its tour of the UK and Ireland before the World Cup.

Rugby’s most coveted prize is coming to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September, and the Webb Ellis Cup – the World Cup Trophy – will be on show at the equestrian event.

The trophy will be onsite at Burghley on Friday, September 4, as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour, which is currently visiting towns, villages, clubs and schools across the UK and Ireland, as part of a 100 day tour.  The tour culminates on September 18 at the Rugby World Cup 2015 Opening Ceremony.

Spectators at Burghley will have the chance to get up close and personal with the famous Trophy and see the bespoke Rugby World Cup 2015 Defender, which has been carrying it on its journey around the UK and Ireland, and Land Rover ambassador and Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Jason Robinson OBE will also be on hand.

webb-ellisMade from gilded silver in 1906, the Webb Ellis Cup has travelled the world since its reinvention as the most sought-after possession in Rugby. It has been seen by millions and has been lifted by some of the finest rugby players ever to grace the international stage. The Trophy stands at 38cm tall and weighs 4.5kg.  It was won at the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 by New Zealand, and has been won by only four different nations since – Australia (twice, in 1991 and 1999), South Africa (twice, in 1995 and 2007), England (in 2003) and New Zealand for a second time (in 2011). It is named after the schoolboy from Rugby School, William Webb Ellis, who is credited with inventing the sport when he first picked up a football and ran with it back in 1823.  The Trophy is sometimes nicknamed as ‘Bill’.

Local children will also have the opportunity to audition to become a Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot – the last chance for 7 to 13-year-olds to win the opportunity to run out onto the pitch with one of the teams. Auditions are on Friday 4, Saturday 5 and Sunday September 6, and youngsters will be invited to visit the Land Rover Experience area to complete one of three tasks: sing their national anthem, offer a piece of advice they would give to the Captain before he runs out for Rugby World Cup 2015, or say how they would welcome a visiting team to England for the Tournament.

The prize for the two lucky chosen mascots will include two tickets to a Rugby World Cup 2015 match (mascot plus parent or guardian), official Rugby World Cup 2015 mascot kit and the opportunity to walk out onto the pitch with a captain for a Rugby World Cup 2015 match.

The final rugby-themed element of this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials comprises a bespoke cross country fence, created by Burghley’s course designer Captain Mark Philips. The final design is still under wraps and will be unveiled in the run up to the event.

Elizabeth Inman, Director of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials said: “There is great synergy between Eventing and Rugby: two of the toughest sports on the planet, both requiring determination, focus and agility.  It is fitting that we are able to acknowledge both sports at Land Rover Burghley in this Rugby World Cup year.

“At Burghley we always strive to offer our visitors a unique experience that goes beyond the equestrian competition and this is certainly it.  To be hosting the Webb Ellis Cup is a huge honour, while many visiting youngsters will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to audition to be Rugby World Cup 2015 mascots.”

The 2015 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials take place from September 3 to 6.

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