Webb Ellis Cup to visit Stoke Mandeville in rugby tour

Wheelpower Inter Spinal Unit Games, April 2014. Stoke Mandeville Stadium. PNL-150326-173446001
Wheelpower Inter Spinal Unit Games, April 2014. Stoke Mandeville Stadium. PNL-150326-173446001

The most sought-after prize in world rugby will visit Stoke Mandeville Stadium during the trophy tour this summer.

Organisers of the Rugby World Cup 2015 have announced that the Webb Ellis Cup will be welcomed by charity Wheelpower at the venue famous for wheelchair sports on Saturday, August 22.

The prestigious prize has been lifted by some of the finest players in history, including England captain Martin Johnson in 2003 after beating Australia in Sydney.

The 100-day tour will travel throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland, stopping off at the birthplace of the Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville before arriving at Twickenham Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday, September 18.

Martin McElhatton, chief executive of Wheelpower, said: “Stoke Mandeville Stadium has become a world famous venue for its role in the development of the Paralympic Games and WheelPower are incredibly honoured that Rugby World Cup organisers have chosen our venue as part of the Webb Ellis Trophy Tour.”

In the build up to the tour, there be a festival of rugby including the chance for local people to have a go at wheelchair rugby on the same day as the trophy visit.

Mr McElhatton said is confident the activities will have a great impact on the community.

He said: “As the national charity for wheelchair sport, WheelPower enable around 38,000 disabled people per year to play sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

“Our involvement with another worldwide sporting event will help promote sporting opportunities that are available to the community.”

In partnership with GB Wheelchair Rugby and Aylesbury Wheelchair Rugby club, have-a-go sessions in the Paralympic sport will be on offer.

The Webb Ellis cup

The Webb Ellis cup

Debbie Jevans, chief executive of England Rugby 2015, said: “With less than six months to go we are delighted to announce that Stoke Mandeville Stadium will host the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour on its 100 day journey across the UK and Ireland.

“The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour will be the perfect opportunity to excite and engage fans across the UK and Ireland and make 2015 feel like the year of the rugby nation.

“Delivering a continuous 100-day tour means we can give as many fans as possible the opportunity to see the Webb Ellis Cup and tell us their rugby story as they countdown to their own tournament experience.”

WheelPower are incredibly honoured that Rugby World Cup have chosen our venue as part of the Webb Ellis Trophy Tour.

Martin McElhatton, Wheelpower chief executive