Every four years, sports fans around the world enjoy the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup. From 18th September to 31st October 2015, England will play host to the Rugby World Cup - RWC2015. 20 teams from the principal rugby-playing nations of the world will compete in a spectacular tournament culminating in the final match at Twickenham Stadium, London on 31st October. As well as teams from the British Isles and Europe, participants will include Australia, Canada, New Zealand (host to the last Rugby World Cup), South Africa and the USA.
As with the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup, the early rounds will take place at 13 different stadia around the country, and teams will make their training bases at one of the many superb facilities that exist in England. On my own 'patch', Australia will be based in Bath, and Georgia will be based in Bristol. Within an hour's drive other teams will be based in Cardiff and Gloucester.
Demand for tickets from supporters has been high and many matches are already sold out. Large numbers of fans are expected to come to visit England from all the rugby nations, and many will take the opportunity in between matches to see 'the sites', e.g. visitors staying in London can conveniently take in Bath and/or Bristol in a day. Rugby supporters are always welcome in town. The rivalry can be great but so is the humour; our pubs, restaurants and hotels welcome the singing, the laughter, the fancy dress and the fun!
I played the game myself in my younger days (a fly-half or full-back for those who understand!) and I remain a keen supporter, often watching Bath, one of our leading clubs, and going to international matches if I can scrounge a ticket. I have also been lucky enough to obtain tickets for 4 matches at RWC2015, which I am really looking forward to. In the past I have had a lot of fun sharing my region with groups of visiting supporters for international cricket and rugby teams, sharing my own passion for the game with theirs. Often when the fans are at the game the partners without a ticket (or those uninterested in the sport!) welcome someone to entertain them. Many businesses use the occasion for some corporate hospitality. I expect to be busy with commissions for tours associated with RWC2015.
So if you are coming to England to support your team I hope you have a great time whatever the results, and in addition to your own national anthem may I suggest you become familiar with the historic American spiritual song "Swing low, sweet chariot..." which has become the unofficial England anthem.
For more information on the tournament, you can go to: www.rugbyworldcup.com.
Thanks Mike! Anyone heading to Mike’s part of England in 2015 can get in touch with him through his ToursByLocals guide profile page to begin a conversation about rugby…or touring around Bath or Bristol.