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By ARU Media Unit
The largest trophy in world Rugby touched down in Australia last night on Qantas flight 48 ahead of the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival and the opening Test of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup.
Over the coming weeks fans will have the opportunity to see the iconic Cup as it heads to a number of different locations around NSW.
Travelling to schools, shopping centres, and various events around Sydney and NSW as part of the 2012 Bledisloe Cup Festival, the Bledisloe Cup Tour will give fans of all ages the chance to get up close with the most sought-after pieces of silverware in trans-Tasman Rugby.
The highly recognisable Cup was donated by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lord Bledisloe, in 1931 to mark the Rugby rivalry between Australia and New Zealand.
Weighing a total of 21.6 Kilograms, including the base, the Cup is the largest Rugby trophy in the world and the most popular behind the World Cup.
The Bledisloe Cup begins its journey today at the Museum of Sydney as part of the Rivals in Rugby Brothers in War display.
The Cup will be on display again on Saturday at the free two-week display, which showcases Rugby artefacts, pictures and jerseys from the early years of the Bledisloe Cup and the contribution both Australia and New Zealand Rugby made to World War II.
On Sunday the Cup will make its way South to the Illawarra region before heading West to Bathurst, North to the Central Coast and Newcastle before returning to Metropolitan Sydney for the Bledisloe Cup Festival.
The Cup is on loan from current Rugby World Cup Champions, the All Blacks, who have held the Bledisloe since 2002.
The Qantas Wallabies will be hoping to take the first step in returning the Cup to the trophy cabinet in Australia for the first time in a decade when they take on their arch rivals the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 18 August.
ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, encouraged fans to get out and see the big bellied trophy and hoped it would be the last year Australia would have to loan the Cup from New Zealand.
“I want to thank the New Zealand Rugby Union for allowing us to borrow the Cup and take it around regional NSW and Sydney ahead of the opening Test in two weeks’ time,” Mr O’Neill said.
“I hope, however, by the end of October we won’t have to be requesting the trophy next season. We will have it here on a more permanent basis.
“The Bledisloe Cup Tour will head to a number of different cities and towns around NSW and will give fans a great opportunity to get up close with the iconic trophy, have their photo taken and really take in and understand its incredible size.”
The Bledisloe Cup Festival, which begins officially on Friday 10 August, will feature a week long calendar of events that celebrate the tradition and iconic rivalry between Australia and New Zealand.
The entire Bledisloe Cup Festival calendar can be found at www.rugby.com.au.
A full list of the Bledisloe Cup Tour dates and locations can be found below. Events highlighted in yellow are open to the public.
· 2 local schools,
· EdRugby values forum.