THE world’s smallest active volcano may be sleeping at the moment but the visit of the Webb Ellis Cup is helping rugby erupt in the Philippines.
The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour arrived in Manila and headed up the Taal Volcano – accompanied by members of the Philippine Volcanoes national team, Philippine Rugby Football Union development officers and young players representing clubs and foundations.
It was the first day of a four-day trip which will include a sevens festival and club training day where players will get the opportunity to get up close and personal with rugby’s greatest prize.
The coveted piece of silverware is on an 18-month tour in the lead up to Asia’s first ever Rugby World Cup, to be held in Japan in 2019.
Braving the rain, the group of players from the Clark Jets, Santos Knight Frank Mavericks, Bulacan Bombers, Kaingin 1 Quezon City and SOS Manila and Haven For Children foundations trekked to the top of the crater.
Philippine international Madille Salinas, coach of Kaingin 1 Quezon City and PRFU Development Officer, said: “It’s a great privilege for us to have the Rugby World Cup trophy here. I posted a picture on social media of the Cup inviting people to come and have their photograph with the trophy and everyone is so excited. It’s a big opportunity for these young people here today.”
Adrian Alvarez,12, from Bulacan Bombers, said: “I really enjoyed today. I liked having pictures taken with the trophy at the volcano. I’ve been playing rugby for four years and I love it, it’s so much fun.”
Whilst in Manila, the Trophy Tour will visit the opening day of a local Rugby Sevens Festival at Southern Plains. Boasting a number of national players, the festival is a hotbed of local and national talent.
And on Sunday the trophy will be guest of honour at 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 the Webb Ellis Cup and national team players.
The Trophy Tour will attend a Get Into Rugby session on Monday run by the PRFU. The Get Into Rugby programme is part of World Rugby’s strategy to grow the game globally in partnership with member regions and unions, aiming to encourage players of all ages to Try, Play and Stay in rugby. As of the end of November 2017, Asia Rugby boasted over 680,000 Get Into Rugby participants, the most of any region, with 36 percent of participants female, reaffirming the strong potential for rugby’s growth in this youthful region of the world.
From Manila the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour will continue to India in August before heading to Japan for Rugby World Cup 2019 one year to go celebrations. The tour will excite the global rugby family and drive fan engagement ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019.
Click here to view the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour schedule.
Rugby World Cup 2019 takes place from 20 September - 2 November 2019. There has been strong demand for Rugby World Cup 2019 with more than 1.5 million ticket applications already received.
Further information on how to purchase tickets can be found at www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.
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