MANILA, Philippines – The 7th leg of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour kicked off in Manila with the Philippine rugby team welcoming the Webb Ellis Cup.
The coveted piece of silverware is on an 18-month tour in the lead up to Asia’s first ever Rugby World Cup, which Japan will host in 2019.
While in Manila, the Trophy Tour will visit the opening day of the Rugby Sevens Festival at Southern Plains in Calamba, Laguna, which has become a hotbed of local rugby talents.
On Sunday, July 29, the trophy will grace a training session at McKinley Hill Stadium before it heads to a central shopping mall, where local junior development teams will be invited to attend sessions with national team players.
The next day, the Trophy Tour will attend a Get Into Rugby session run by the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU), which aims to encourage players of all ages to try the sport.
“It is a great honor to host the Webb Ellis Cup here in the Philippines as part of the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan," said PRFU general manager Jake Letts. "We are seeing steady growth in rugby and the recent success of the national side in the Asia Rugby Division 1 along with the Trophy Tour helps us to continue to work towards a bright future for rugby in the Philippines.”
Members of the Philippine Volcanoes also joined children from local rugby development programs in welcoming the Webb Ellis Cup with a hike to Taal Volcnao, the world’s smallest active volcano.
“This is an exciting time for the growth of rugby in the Philippines and across Asia. The game continues to attract new participants and fans in record numbers as we approach one year to go to Rugby World Cup 2019, the first to be held in Asia," said World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper.
“Bringing the tournament to Asia for the first time in 2019 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase participation across the continent and initiatives like the Trophy Tour help to spread the inspiration of Rugby World Cup 2019 far and wide. We have already seen the positive benefits of the Impact Beyond legacy program to the region, with well over 500,000 participants already getting their first taste of rugby as part of our ambitious ‘Asia 1 Million’ project and look forward to continued growth of the game in the Philippines.”
From Manila, the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour will head to India in August before heading to Japan for a one-year celebration before the Rugby World Cup 2019. – Rappler.com