Princess Obolensky to welcome Rugby World Cup trophy to Ipswich

The Prince Obolensky statue in Ipswich that was unveiled by Princess Obolensky.

The Prince Obolensky statue in Ipswich that was unveiled by Princess Obolensky. - Credit: Archant

The niece of rugby legend Prince Obolensky will be a guest of honour when the World Cup trophy visits Ipswich as part of its nationwide tour.

The public will have the chance to see the Webb Ellis Cup in the town centre next to the statue of Alexander Obolensky on August 11.

Andrew Sarek, the Rugby Football Union council member representing the eastern counties, and Ipswich Mayor, Glen Chisholm, will welcome the trophy to Cromwell Square at 2pm.

They will be accompanied by Princess Alexandra Obolensky, who five years ago attended the launch of the iconic statue of her uncle created by Harry Gray.

Prince Obolensky became known as the “flying prince” after he scored two sensational tries on his debut in 1936 when he helped England to their first victory over the All Blacks. He was killed in a flying accident on landing his Hurricane at Martlesham Heath in 1940 and is buried in a war grave at Ipswich Cemetery.

Princess Obolensky said: “It is fitting that the World Cup trophy tour is coming to Ipswich at the site of the Prince’s statue.

“I am looking forward to the day and am grateful to the RFU and partners for putting this event together. I am also looking forward to an exciting tournament in the autumn - perhaps we shall see some tries that will match my uncle’s efforts against the All Blacks all those years ago.”

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A variety of rugby-based entertainment is being laid on for the public in Cromwell Square by the RFU, Eastern Counties Rugby, Suffolk Sport and Ipswich Borough Council. The event will continue until 4pm.

Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and Ipswich portfolio-holder, Christopher Hudson, said he hoped the visit would inspire more young people to take up the sport and help the council’s ambition of becoming the most active county in England.

Ipswich borough councillor, Alasdair Ross, a former soldier who played rugby for his regiment in Ireland, Germany and Bosnia, added: “This will be a very proud moment for Ipswich people – not only rugby fans. It is fitting that the biggest cup in the game is coming to the statue of one of the world’s greatest ever rugby stars.”