The coveted Webb Ellis Cup has visited Birmingham to help kick start the 12-month countdown to the first of two Rugby World Cup 2015 matches to be played at Villa Park.
As part of the city's 'One Year to Go' celebrations, members of the public were invited to have their photographs taken with the trophy at Birmingham New Street Station, before the cup moved up to Victoria Square, where former England player and Rugby World Cup 2015 ambassador Will Greenwood, who was part of the winning 2003 world cup squad, held coaching sessions for pupils from Great Barr School, alongside Rugby Football Union (RFU) community coach Adam Blackford.
Great Barr School is part of All Schools, an initiative which aims to increase the number of secondary schools playing rugby union. This is an initiative supported by Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Rugby Partnership as part of the Birmingham Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy.
Councillor Penny Holbrook, Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning and Culture at Birmingham City Council, said: “Hosting two of the Rugby World Cup 2015 games at Villa Park is hugely important for the city and the excellent work being done here to promote rugby union among our schools.
“I am delighted that the Webb Ellis trophy was here to help us start the one-year countdown and grateful to Will Greenwood for taking the time to come and coach some of our pupils here in Birmingham - young people who could well go on to become the rugby stars of tomorrow.”
Villa Park will host the Pool B game between South Africa and Samoa on September 26, 2015, 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.
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Notes to Editors
A high-resolution photograph showing Will Greenwood with the Webb Ellis Cup and pupils from Great Barr School can be downloaded from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed.