Tickets for this year’s Rugby World Cup matches at Villa Park may have sold out, but Birmingham residents and visitors can still experience the excitement of the tournament at the city’s official fanzone – one of just 15 around the country.
Located at Eastside Park, the fanzone will be free to enter and will be open from Friday, September 18, to Sunday, September 20, and then again from Wednesday, September 23, to Sunday, September 27. Villa Park will host the Pool B game between South Africa and Samoa on September 26, while Australia will take on the Pool A play-off winner at the ground the following day. Teams will be based at Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club and the University of Birmingham.
The fanzone will include a big screen showing live matches and other rugby content, as well as a rugby activity zone, fairground rides, covered viewing areas and a range of refreshment stalls.
It will also play host to organised invitational rugby sessions for local schools, rugby clubs, universities and businesses, plus women’s and girls’ groups, all of whom will benefit from expert coaching delivered by official England Rugby development coaches, as well as local rugby clubs.
However, visitors will also have the opportunity to have a go at a range of rugby-related activities, including skills zones, inflatable rugby challenges and a mini rugby pitch for small-sided games.
There will also be a full programme of entertainment, details of which will be announced in due course.
Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a particularly exciting year for Birmingham in terms of sporting events, with the Diamond League athletics at the Alexander Stadium last month, the Ashes at Edgbaston this month and, of course, two Rugby World Cup games at Villa Park in September.
“We are expecting thousands of visitors to head to Birmingham for the Rugby World Cup, which is why we are delighted to be hosting one of the official fanzones for the tournament. This means that even if you don’t have a ticket to the matches, you can still join thousands of other fans in our fanzone, soak up the atmosphere of the tournament and join in the nationwide celebration of rugby.
“Events such as these are hugely important to Birmingham, bringing visitors to our city, boosting our economy and, of course, showing the world what we have to offer in terms of world class sporting facilities. We look forward to welcoming players and fans alike.”
Further information is available by visiting www.rwc2015bham.co.uk.