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By ARU Media Unit
The Bledisloe Cup has wrapped up a successful tour through NSW as part of this year’s inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival. Over 13,000 people have had the chance to get close to one of the most sought-after pieces of silverware in trans-Tasman Rugby as part of the two-week tour.
The tour has provided fans with the unique opportunity to witness the iconic trophy during the lead up to tomorrow’s Bledisloe Cup Test and Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship opener at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
World Rugby’s biggest trophy arrived on Australian shores on Thursday 2 August to embark on an exclusive tour across regions of NSW. On loan from current Bledisloe Cup holders, the All Blacks, the Cup has travelled to Illawarra, Bathurst, the Central Coast, Newcastle and the Hunter before arriving in Sydney to launch the first-ever Bledisloe Cup Festival last Friday. The Cup has since made its way through several Sydney metropolitan areas visiting communities in the north and Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
This week the Cup headed to the west, south east and northern suburbs of Sydney making its first stop at Christ the King Primary School in North Rocks before heading to St Monica’s Primary School and The Kings School in North Parramatta. The Cup then visited St. Brigid's Catholic Primary School, Clemton Park Primary School and Our Lady of Fatima School in Sydney’s south east and St Augustine’s College and Harbord Public School in Sydney’s northern suburbs.
Students from each school got the chance to fine tune their Rugby techniques participating in skills and drills sessions as part of the Bledisloe Cup’s visit. Yesterday the Cup visited Westfield Sports High in Fairfield and a Rugby Youth Foundation Forum and Training Day at Granville South High School where teachers, youth coaches and students heard about the history of the Bledisloe Cup and participated in question and answer sessions.
The tour has touched the lives of thousands throughout NSW connecting the grassroots to the elite international level and inspiring future Qantas Wallabies to be the next to have the honour of holding the prestigious Cup.
Several NSW Waratahs players have joined the Cup on its visit, adding even more of a thrill for local school children and a good morale boost for players at the North Rocks Rugby Club and Chatswood Junior Rugby Club ahead of this weekend’s Junior Rugby finals. The Cup was also an impressive spectacle at the Buchan and Waratah Shield Semi-finals at Eastwood Rugby Club’s TG Millner Field.
Local Rugby enthusiasts again had the privilege of being able to get their photos taken with the highly recognisable Cup at the Rebel Sport Stores at Westfield Parramatta and Chatswood during the week.
The tour finished up yesterday at two EdRugby Program’s Promoting Values in Sport Forums at the Hills Grammar School in Sydney’s Hills District and Granville Boys High School. The Forums provide a rare opportunity for students and teachers to hear about the values underpinning Rugby, including pride, heritage sportsmanship, respect, honour and standards.
It was a fitting final stop for the Cup before it makes its way to Sydney Olympic Park today for the epic clash between the Qantas Wallabies and the All Blacks in what is set to be a blockbuster opening Bledisloe Cup Test and first of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship matches (secure your tickets here).
The Bledisloe Cup has had an overwhelming reception in Australia as part of the Bledisloe Cup Festival trophy tour, spreading the history and passion surrounding a Bledisloe Cup Test.
The tour has created a greater desire amongst fans to keep the Bledisloe Cup on Australian shores for a more extended period, support which will no doubt help carry the Qantas Wallabies to victory this Saturday night.
The IRB has announced its match officials list for the second stage of the 2014 IRB Junior World Championships overnight, with two Australians appointed to referee two of the games in New Zealand on Sunday.