The Opening of the Rugby World Cup 2011 took place on Friday morning 9 September 2011 in New Zealand. To celebrate here in Rugby, a troupe of Maori performed two versions of the Haka, before the Webb Ellis statue outside Rugby School and a flag-raising ceremony of the 16 competing nations taking place in the Rugby World Cup 2011.
Locals together with other spectators and school children watched with excitement and applauded the performance and flag-raising ceremony place, to mark the beginning of the tournament of the Rugby World Cup 2011.
All flags were raised by local school children from Dunchurch and St. Marie’s Primary School.
The Maoris said that they were honoured to be representing New Zealand in the birthplace of the game of Rugby on such a historic day, here in Rugby.
Local MP, Mark Pawsey is now back from his visit after presenting a specially made traditional hand-stitched Gilbert ball over to the New Zealand sports ministry in recognition of Rugby’s status as the birthplace of the game to mark the start of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Mr Pawsey is a former player and avid fan, was given the honour of presenting the rugby ball and traveling nearly 12,000 miles over to New Zealand (Mr Pawsey paid for the trip himself.)
The ball was printed with a message from Rugby to New Zealand’s Sports Minister, Murray McCully, in a gesture billed as the ‘World’s Longest Pass’
The message was written on the ball, on behalf of the town, by Rugby School Head Teacher, Patrick Derham.
It reads "From the birthplace of the game, to the host nation of the Rugby World Cup 2011, Rugby School and the people of Rugby wish the country of New Zealand a successful tournament in the best traditions of our game."
We are very proud here at thebestof Rugby of our name and the internationally recognised sport of rugby.
We support Mike Tindall and the England team in their campaign to bring the Webb Ellis trophy back home!
Thebestof Rugby wishes all our Home Nations good luck at the Rugby World Cup 2011.
Haka is a traditional Maori war dance performed by various tribes and cultural groups throughout New Zealand.
The Maori people are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and first arrived in waka hourua (voyaging canoes) from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki over 1000 years ago.
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