● Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour engages with hundreds of players and fans in Germany
● The Webb Ellis Cup visited Berlin, Heidelberg, Cologne and Bonn
● Over 500 players from local clubs in Berlin launched the tour at Rugby Klub 03
● German national team motivated by Rugby’s greatest prize ahead of their European opener on Saturday
● World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper visited inspirational Rugby United refugee rugby programme at Cologne RFC
● The Trophy Tour joined DHL to support the Race to Rugby World Cup as riders arrive in Bonn
● The 20-leg tour will travel to South Africa later this month, continuing to engage fans across the globe in the countdown to Japan 2019
● Tickets for Rugby World Cup 2019 are now on general sale at www.tickets.rugbyworldcup.com

Hundreds of rugby fans joined the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour across Germany this week. The Webb Ellis Cup, rugby’s most coveted silverware, travelled through Berlin, Heidelberg, Cologne and Bonn stopping at local clubs, youth festivals, a unique refugee rugby initiative and the national team training base. The Tour also visited Rugby World Cup 2019 Worldwide Partner DHL’s headquarters where it greeted two rugby fans riding from London to Tokyo to raise money for the ChildFund Pass It Back programme in the countdown to Japan 2019.

Click here for rights free images from the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour in Germany. 

Joining the thirteenth leg of the Trophy Tour, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper visited a unique and inspirational community rugby programme that uses rugby to integrate refugees within the community in Cologne. ‘Rugby United’, set up by four of Colognes women’s team; Vivian Jenar Salim, Lisa Naumann, Lynn Schueller and Johanna Wolff Metternich in 2016 recognised that sport, and in particular the value of rugby, can play a crucial role in the social integration of refugees into society. 

As part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour in Germany, the Webb Ellis Cup visited Cologne RFC and was on display at a Rugby United training session giving the project members the opportunity to get close to rugby’s greatest prize. Pictured above are three of the project's young participants; Denise (aged 7 from Iran), Nimatz (aged 6 from Nigeria) and Rohaif (aged 7 from Syria). 

World Rugby CEO, Brett Gosper, said, “The Rugby United refugee rugby project is an excellent example of how the character building values of rugby can be used to bring communities together in a spirit of friendship and togetherness, demonstrating that rugby has the power to transcend national and cultural boundaries and we were delighted to meet the organisers and the players on the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour.”

Rugby United’s Lisa Naumann said, “Rugby is not just a welcome distraction for the often difficult everyday life of refugees, but it can also be used to share and instil important values such as respect, solidarity and discipline. Through Rugby United we are trying to bring these values to life and are keen not only to engage children and adults through rugby but also provide life skills that can be taken outside of training. We hope this will encourage an inclusive society and raise awareness for social change in our community. We have been honoured to welcome the Webb Ellis Cup to Cologne and know that all our players have been inspired and excited to be part of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour.”

Whilst in Heidelberg, the Trophy Tour also visited the Baden-Württemberg youth festival at the RGH club where over 100 players aged 7 to 12 competed in the tournament before taking the opportunity to admire the Webb Ellis Cup.

Moving to Cologne, the Trophy Tour visited the iconic RheinEnergie Stadion for a formal welcome to the city from fans, players and sports officials.

Commenting on the impact of the Trophy Tour in Germany Gosper added, “It has been a very productive and promising visit to Germany. The Trophy Tour allows us to reach and excite new rugby fans and participants around the world through the inspiration of the famous Webb Ellis Cup, and the opportunity to share this experience with four cities in one of rugby’s key emerging markets was a valuable one.

“Our research shows there to be over 5.4 million rugby fans in Germany, and with a cumulative broadcast audience of over 10 million that tuned in to watch Rugby World Cup 2015, there is clearly a great potential for the growth of the game in this sport loving nation. Encouragingly, the demographic of German rugby fans is above average for female (34%) and under-24s (26%) representation, which are both important development areas for our sport.”

“With just 225 days to go to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, preparations on track for a very special and successful first Rugby World Cup in Asia and the anticipation of the world’s third biggest sports event can be felt right across the globe.”

The Tour began with a warm welcome in Berlin as over 500 fans gathered at Rugby Klub 03. From Berlin, the Webb Ellis Cup travelled to the home of the German national team in Heidelberg where Head Coach Mike Ford said his team were ‘inspired and motivated’ by the opportunity to see the Rugby World Cup trophy up close. The team, who were busy preparing for their opening match against Belgium this weekend in the 2018/2019 Rugby Europe International Championship, narrowly missed out on qualification via the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage in Marseille in November but have been bolstered by their historic second place finish.

The final stop in Bonn saw the Trophy Tour arrive at Rugby World Cup 2019 Worldwide Partner DHL’s head office where the Webb Ellis Cup, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper, DHL Global CEO John Pearson and DRV President Robin J. Stalker, were on hand to welcome rugby fans Ron Rutland and James Owens who are cycling 20,093km from London to Tokyo, through 26 countries over 231 days. The ‘Race to Rugby World Cup’ will raise funds for ChildFund Pass It Back; World Rugby’s Impact Beyond Partner for Rugby World Cup 2019 and will see the pair delivering a commemorative whistle which will be presented to the match referee at the opening game in Japan. 

DRV President, Robin J. Stalker, said “2019 is an exciting year for rugby worldwide and a special year for rugby in Germany. Having the Webb Ellis Cup visit Germany on the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour is fantastic recognition of the great potential Germany has to become a more recognised rugby nation. It is a pleasure to share this visit with Brett Gosper, CEO of World Rugby,and DHL as a supporter of rugby worldwide and a valued and passionate partner for rugby in Germany.”

For more on the Race to Rugby World Cup expedition including live tracking, donations, registrations and event tickets visit www.racetorwc.com

Germany completes the thirteenth leg of the 20-nation Trophy Tour. The next stop will be South Africa, as excitement grows ahead of the first Rugby World Cup in Asia. Later this year the Webb Ellis Cup will visit the USA and Canada, Brazil, Chile and Argentina among other destinations in the lead up to the tournament. 

To view the Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour schedule, visit www.rugbyworldcup.com/trophy-tour

Tickets for Rugby World Cup 2019 are now on general sale, operating on a first-come-first-served basis, in real-time. Following record-breaking demand for tickets during the ballot phases in 2018, a limited number of tickets remain available and fans are encouraged to use the ticket availability indicator on the ticketing website to give themselves the best opportunity to secure Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets. Tickets can be purchased via www.tickets.rugbyworldcup.com

For more details on Rugby World Cup 2019, visit www.rugbyworldcup.com.