Dallaglio counts down to RWC Opening Ceremony, at the LSE

This week, Wasps’ Non-Executive Director and RWC 2015 Ambassador, Lawrence Dallaglio, has been out and about in the City, joining rugby fans on the World Cup trophy tour, as the nation counts down to Friday’s opening game of the Rugby World Cup 2015, England v Fiji.

During its 100 day tour, the trophy has been taken to over 300 events in UK and Ireland, from grassroots rugby clubs to regional landmarks such as the London Eye and Coventry Cathedral, all in celebration of rugby and the hosting of RWC 2015.

Over the past couple of days, Lawrence has introduced children at Great Ormond Street Hospital to the Webb Ellis Cup and officially opened the markets at the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The last time Wasps were at the LSE was to launch its debut retail bond. Today, Dallaglio trod his well-worn path from club to country, as he held aloft the Webb Ellis trophy in the financial capital. 

We caught up with Lawrence to get his take on the growth the game could enjoy in this country over the next couple of seasons, after hosting Rugby World Cup 2015.

“It’s fantastic to be back here in Paternoster Square,” he said. “The last time I was here was for Wasps’ retail bond and it has been a phenomenal few months for club and country since. From a club perspective, we’ve seen support for Wasps’ off-field business here in the City, as well as on match day at the Ricoh Arena, where we’ve experienced record crowds. I can only see that support and enthusiasm for the game growing, as the Rugby World Cup kicks off this Friday.

“I can’t wait for the buzz to engulf the country and for new fans, young and old, to sample what we know and love about the game. I’ve been fortunate to play in a number of World Cups and you can always sense the excitement the tournament creates, particularly in this country after England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

“We returned home to see more kids than ever before throwing a ball around in the park with family and friends and there was a surge in attendances at Premiership games following that. The Rugby World Cup is already the third largest global sporting event and rugby is the fastest growing participation sport in England. If England do well, which I really hope and expect they will, the game will benefit hugely from another boost at grassroots level.

“I know the RFU have a variety of RWC 2015 legacy initiatives, with investment to help over 500 clubs across the country improve their clubhouses and pitches, as well as to create 6,500 newly qualified referees and coaches and 5,000 additional club volunteers. The RFU’s All Schools programme has already been hugely successful in introducing rugby to 400 non-playing state secondary schools, with an aim to reach 750 All Schools by 2019.

“Given we are speaking at the London Stock Exchange, opening the financial markets this morning, perhaps it's also appropriate to consider the economic impact of hosting the tournament, which is predicted to generate up to £2.2 billion of output into the economy and add up to £982 million of value to national GDP.” 

There are many ways to be part of RWC2015, either at fan zones or at games themselves. While more than 2.3 million tickets have already been sold, there are still tickets available after an increase in ticket capacity from 2.3 million to 2.45 million. For more information visit tickets.rugbyworldcup.com

During the Rugby World Cup, Wasps will be well represented in the Midlands by the Wasps Interactive Zone [the Wiz] at a number of key events.

These include the Rugby Village in the Old Market Place, Rugby Town centre on September 18th, 19th, 20th and in the RWC Fanzone, Eastside Park Birmingham on September 24th, 25th and 26th. Children attending will have the chance to test their skills in three key areas; speed, power and accuracy, with Wasps community coaches on hand not only to ensure the children have a great time, but also enhance their skills. In addition, Wasps will be offering free Junior Membership to all participants. For more info on Junior Membership click here 

Tickets for Wasps’ games can be purchased online here or via the Ticket Office Hotline on 02476786411