|Trophy tour arrives in Wigan Borough
It’s been clocking up the miles on a tour of the country and now the Rugby League World Cup trophy is set to arrive in Wigan Borough.
Fans will have the chance to get up close to the famous silverware as it travels around the borough for the next few days. It’s part of a national tour to promote the Rugby League World Cup 2013, which kicks-off in October. Wigan Borough is hosting two matches during the tournament.
The highlights of its trip around the country so far include visits to 10 Downing Street and the Welsh National Assembly in Cardiff. In Wigan Borough it will be going to schools, libraries, the Wigan Youth Zone and a special family event in Mesnes Park.
It means local rugby fans will be able to touch the trophy only three nations have ever lifted. The 61cm high, silver-plated trophy has a fascinating history. It was commissioned by Paul Barrière, a former French Resistance fighter, for rugby league’s first ever world cup in 1954. The trophy was presented to the winning nation at the next four tournaments. However, while on display in the Midland Hotel in Bradford, it was stolen - six days before the 1970 final.
Twenty years later it was found dumped in a ditch near the Bradford and Bingley Rugby League Club. It was brought back into use for the 2000 World Cup and presented to the victorious Australian team.
Councillor Chris Ready, Wigan Council cabinet member for leisure and sport, said: “The countdown to the start of the tournament is now really on and this tour is designed to give people across the borough a taste of the excitement they can look forward to. We’re proud to be hosting two games and the anticipation is really building.
“We hope loads of people will be able to get chance to see the trophy over the next few days and I’d encourage as many people as possible to get down to Mesnes Park for the fun day, which promises to be a great event.”
As well as the trophy, the Extraordinary Family Fun Day in Mesnes Park, on Saturday 20 July, will feature a fun fair, live bands and rugby games for kids. Wish FM will be hosting a roadshow and Wigan Warriors stars will be appearing throughout the day.
The Rugby League World Cup is the biggest team sport event being held in the UK this year. Fourteen countries are competing. The competition kicks-off on Saturday 26 October. The group game between Tonga and the Cook Islands will be held at the Leigh Sports Village while the DW Stadium in Wigan will host one of the quarter final matches.
Tickets for the Rugby League World Cup 2013 start at £10 (£5 concessions). They can be bought at host venues or www.rlwc2013.com