14th November 2014
While football fans across the land switch off as the Premiership programme gives way to Euro qualifiers, rugby union takes centre stage with the autumn internationals and the run-up to next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
And with just 44 weeks today, until England kick off the whole show at Twickenham on 18 September 2015 against Fiji, looking to repeat their sole World Cup win of 12 years earlier, rugby fever will be ramping up across the land.
Defeat by three points to current world champions and world No 1s New Zealand last Saturday won’t have dampened that ardour. That will increase with games to come tomorrow against world No 2 South Africa, then Samoa and Australia on the following two Saturdays.
The focus then switches to the RBS 6 Nations from February to March next year before England do battle in the World Cup in September and October, hopefully culminating in a famous win on 31 October, back at ‘Fortress Twickenham.
That presumes we negotiate the ‘pool of death’, in which we’re pitted against old enemy Australia and perennial Six Nations foe Wales – who have managed three Grand Slams since England’s most recent one in 2003, intriguingly our World Cup-winning year – for just two places in the quarter-final knockout stages, along with relative minnows Uruguay and Fiji.
But at Zaun, we’re just as interested in the business of hosting the Rugby World Cup, which will generate billions of pounds for the country.
The most recent report from financial services company Deloitte forecasts an overall £2bn economic impact for England as a result of hosting the tournament, according to England Rugby 2015 Chief Executive Debbie Jevans.
She is overseeing preparations for next year’s event. She has urged businesses looking to offer their services for the tournament to get involved, especially since a record level of demand for tickets during September’s general sale has England 2015 set to become the best supported Rugby World Cup to date.
She said: “The benefits of hosting a tournament of this scale will be huge, not just for the cities and venues that will stage the 48 matches, but also for the countless businesses and suppliers that will be directly or indirectly involved in the delivery of rugby’s showcase event in 2015.”
That’s why we’re just one of 32 organisations booked to exhibit at the second IRB Rugby Conference & Exhibition next Monday and Tuesday at the Hilton London Metropole.
Rugby legends Sean Fitzpatrick, Brian Moore, Agustín Pichot and Thomas Castaignède, will kick off and set the tone for ConfEx by discussing the future of rugby.
The IRB World Rugby ConfEx provides a unique environment for the global rugby community to share knowledge, network and develop relationships with leading figures and decision-makers across rugby and the wider world of sport and business.
Let’s hope we manage to drum up some business as well as getting an autograph from surely England’s greatest hooker of all time, the ‘Pitbull’, Brian Moore!