MORE than 500 people took the opportunity to get close to two of the rugby world’s most prized pieces of silverware during a debut appearance in Coventry.
The RBS Six Nations Championship Trophy and the Triple Crown Trophy were on display in the Lower Precinct in the city centre and fans were invited to have a photo alongside them for free.
England’s Grand Slam heroics saw them lift both trophies earlier this year and their visit to the city helped Coventry and Warwickshire fans join in on the celebrations.
High-profile figures and key parties which have an interest in rugby were in attendance at the event, including rugby league club Coventry Bears, the area manager for the RFU Alan Royer, councillor Jim O’Boyle and Coventry BID Chairman John Kiely.
The trophies’ appearance in the city centre was a major coup for Coventry and comes as part of its aim to establish itself as a leading city in the world for every level of the sport by 2023 – rugby’s 200th anniversary.
City of Rugby – the initiative which is working to achieve this – is a formal collaboration between organisations in Coventry that have an interest in the game and works to promote and develop rugby, and its core values, within the city.
Tom Clift, programme manager for Engage! Coventry which is responsible for the strategic co-ordination of City of Rugby, said: “It was fantastic to see the RBS Six Nations trophies visit attract huge interest from people of all ages across the city – which we hope will in turn inspire more people across Coventry and Warwickshire to engage in the sport and take an interest in the game forward either as a player, coach, volunteer or referee.
Coventry is the only city in the Midlands which is home to both professional and semi-professional rugby union and rugby league teams – including Coventry Rugby Club, Wasps and Coventry Bears – placing the city in a unique position.
Alan Royer, RFU Area Manager for the Midlands and East, added: “Coventry has a rich rugby playing heritage, and with so much existing support for the game in the city and three major clubs now calling it home, never has Coventry been in a better position to take the reins and establish itself as a leading City of Rugby for both codes of the game.”