Former Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio and England Rugby 2015 ambassador will accompany the Webb Ellis Cup to the opening RWC 2015 qualification match between Mexico and Jamaica in Mexico City on March 24. Dallaglio was a key member of England’s Rugby World Cup 2003-winning side in Australia. In all, he won a total of 85 caps for England and three more for the British and Irish Lions during an international career that spanned 12 years.
In a special moment for the players the 39-year-old will present both sides with their match shirts on the eve of a fixture that will kick start the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2015, which will be held in England.
This process involves 80 teams, 184 matches, around 3,000 players across six continents with eight places at RWC 2015 up for grabs. It gives an opportunity and a clear pathway for all IRB’s Member Unions to compete at the highest level as part of IRB’s vision to grow the game beyond its traditional heartlands. The prestigious Webb Ellis Cup, presented to the winners of Rugby’s showcase event will be making its first appearance in Mexico and will be available for fans to view before the match.
Looking ahead Dallaglio said: “Even though the tournament itself is still three and a half years away, it’s so exciting to know that the road to England 2015 starts this month. Rugby is growing all over the world and the continued success of Rugby World Cup reflects that. In New Zealand last year, we saw many of the teams that did qualify push the top sides all the way so it’s clear the gap is closing and that has to be good for the Game. I am delighted to be a part of this journey as the excitement around England 2015 begins to build.”
“As a player, there is no greater honour than to represent your country at the highest level and so this is a huge occasion for these teams and their supporters. I’d like to wish both Mexico and Jamaica the best of luck and may the better team win.”