Rugby World Cup heading to Ipswich

The Rugby Union World Cup will visit the statue to Prince Obolensky in Ipswich.

The Rugby Union World Cup will visit the statue to Prince Obolensky in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

The Rugby Union World Cup is heading to Ipswich next month on its tour of the country in the run-up to this autumn’s tournament.

The Webb Ellis trophy

The Webb Ellis trophy - Credit: Getty Images

The Webb Ellis Trophy, which England famously won in 2003 thanks to the boot of Johnny Wilkinson, will be visiting the town on August 11 during a nationwide tour before the tournament kicks off at Twickenham on September 18.

Prince Harry launched the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour at Twickenham last month, with 100 days to go to the opening match. The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour has travelled through Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and will visit Wales and England before arriving at Twickenham.

It will be brought to the statue of Rugby legend Prince Alexander Obolensky at Cromwell Square in the town.

Andrew Sarek, the RFU Council Member representing the Eastern Counties, together with Councillor Glen Chisholm, the Mayor of Ipswich, will welcome the Webb Ellis Trophy to Ipswich.

Russian-born Prince Obolensky was one of the finest Rugby Union stars of his generation and played for England before the Second World War.

He died while training as a pilot at RAF Martlesham Heath during run-up to the Battle of Britain in early 1940.

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Obolensky became known as the “flying prince” after he scored two sensational tries on his international debut in 1936 when he helped England to their first victory over the New Zealand All Blacks.

He is buried in a war grave at Ipswich Cemetery. He remains an iconic figure in England Rugby folklore and his memory was honoured five years ago when the statue was unveiled in Ipswich.

The costs were shared by rugby enthusiasts, public donations, Ipswich Borough Council and topped up by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

John Winders, the event organiser said: “This will provide a huge opportunity to promote rugby in Ipswich. It will also be the time to recognise a war time pilot and a rugby legend on the 75th anniversary of his death.

“Obolensky was a committed sportsman and England will be looking to recreate his spirit to fulfil their ambitions in Rugby World Cup 2015.”

Ipswich councillor Alasdair Ross, a former soldier who played rugby for his regiment, 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. I am looking forward to the event and to England winning the trophy in the autumn.”

Rugby is at the heart of the Trophy Tour engaging with more than100 rugby clubs, organisations and rugby festivals, from grassroots to elite.

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