Peter Grace, chairman of the Birmingham Rugby Partnership, hopes that the recent Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour to North Midlands will have left a lasting legacy for the sport across the region.
The Webb Ellis Cup visited Hereford, Worcester, Telford and Birmingham during its three day visit to North Midlands and as accompanied on part of its journey by RFU President Jason Leonard, a World Cup winner in 2003.
The trophy was seen by thousands of people during the three day visit which helped to promote the Rugby World Cup, which starts on September 18. Villa Park in Birmingham will stage two pool matches during the competition.
“The Trophy Tour massively raised the profile of RWC2015 and how close the opening ceremony actually is,” Grace said.
“The youngsters who had their photographs taken with the trophy will have their own RWC2015 legacy in the years to come especially the ones taken with RFU President Jason Leonard and other celebrities.
“From the wonderfully iconic first event at Hereford Cathedral where the Rugby World Cup trophy met the Mappa Mundi and the hundreds of young players playing touch in the grounds plus the fantastic wheelchair rugby exhibition to the final Civic Reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham in the magnificent banqueting suite in the Council House, the RWC2015 and its legacy was a powerful message.
“There were great numbers of youngsters and parents photographed with the trophy at Worcester Warriors , Moseley RFC and Sutton Coldfield RFC thus engaging the clubs and University of Birmingham resisted the rain to produce some great youth fun in the presence of Jason Leonard who also entertained the large crowds at the Telford T Festival.
“After a visit to the match venue at Villa Park the City Centre entertainment at the Bull Ring and Victoria Square attracted many members of the public for that special photograph despite the weather.
“I would congratulate all of the event organisers on delivering a programme which engaged the rugby and non-playing public. From a legacy perspective the Civic Reception attended by RFU Vice President Peter Baines and all of the local rugby hierarchy and 25 clubs was a great launch with Birmingham City Council confirming another BRP Legacy Conference in November immediately after RWC2015 concludes.
“It was a proud time for Birmingham Rugby Partnership’s 14 Leader Clubs to be presented with unique certificates signed by the Lord Mayor & Jason Leonard to recognise their Legacy work to date.
“The City Council report published on July 20 on child poverty in the City gave BRP , its clubs and its stakeholders the target we need to show that the Rugby Family can make a difference to the quality of people’s lives whilst enjoying our sport.”