http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/news/cup-but-no-stars-on-tour/1283486/ Iain Hyndman | Friday, February 24, 2012
Wanganui rugby fans can embrace the trophy, but not the players who won it, when The Great Rugby Road Trip comes to town next month.
In fact, the Webb Ellis Cup and other memorabilia being displayed during the road show will not be accompanied by any of the World Cup All Blacks in most provinces throughout the country because of Super 15 and other commitments.
Wanganui Rugby Football Union chief executive Dale Cobb confirmed yesterday that no All Blacks would attend when the road show hits town on March 8.
"It's not just Wanganui that will miss out on an All Black visit - it's most provinces," Mr Cobb said yesterday.
"It's unfortunate, but obviously player commitment to Super 15 and other duties come first. We were hopeful that because Richie McCaw isn't starting until April, he may have been available but he isn't and his interests must come first, I guess."
Mr Cobb said he was convinced rugby fans and the general public would still embrace the cup and what it meant to the country.
"Before we won the cup there was an air of expectation and nagging doubt we might not claim it, but now we have actually won it I think the public respect it and what it means."
The tour will feature a custom-built truck - all black, naturally - transporting the Webb Ellis Cup, the Bledisloe Cup, the Women's Rugby World Cup and world junior and sevens trophies.
There will also be activities at each venue, along with technology allowing fans to be "virtually" photographed with All Blacks captain McCaw and other players.
Forums will also be held at rugby clubs in each of the 26 provincial unions.
The road show will be set up and displayed at Springvale Park between 3pm and 6pm on Thursday, March 8.
The All Blacks silverware will also be flown to Marton and Ohakune by helicopter on the morning of March 8 and then down to to Cooks Gardens at 11.50am.
The show will then head to Wanganui High School where an open invitation stands for all secondary and primary schools in the area to attend a presentation.
Following the road show display at Springvale Park, a workshop and forum will be hosted at the Marist club in Hatrick St.
While we have been working hard to involve players wherever possible, we cannot guarantee their involvement in the trip due to their other commitments, such as preparing for the start of the Super Rugby season.
When we are speaking with schools we need to emphasise the visits are about thanking the kids and celebrating rugby at all levels - the Webb Ellis Cup is the star.