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By ARU Media Unit
The Bledisloe Cup trophy is proving extremely popular with almost 8,000 people across NSW getting the opportunity to get up close to the iconic piece of trans-Tasman silverware.
The regional NSW leg of the tour wrapped up last Thursday in Newcastle and the Hunter after travelling through the Illawarra, Bathurst and Central Coast regions of NSW. The Cup visited Edgeworth, Cessnock and Nulkaba Public Schools in the Newcastle and Hunter area impressing hundreds of local students at school assemblies.
As part of the tour the children participated in Rugby skills and drills sessions and had the opportunity to get their photo with the 9kg big bellied Cup that the Qantas Wallabies and All Blacks will clash for on Saturday 18 August at ANZ Stadium.
Visitors at the Hunter Valley Gardens were also treated to the unique chance of witnessing the prominent Cup during its visit, as were local Junior Rugby Club players when the Cup made its final stop in the area at the Pokolbin Junior Rugby Club.
The Cup that symbolises trans-Tasman Rugby supremacy then arrived in Sydney in time for the official launch of the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival last Friday 10 August at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Cup also visited Willoughby Public School, accompanied by NSW Waratah, Damien Fitzpatrick before moving to Castle Cove Public School in the north of Sydney.
The trophy tour also managed to squeeze in a visit to the PSSA Coastal Cup Primary School Sevens Competition where it left an impression on more than 400 boys and girls participating across a number of age groups up to Under 12s at Sydney’s Moore Park.
Over the weekend the Bledisloe Cup Trophy Tour focused on Junior and Premier Club Rugby arriving in Maroubra to visit the East Randwick Mini Competition where approximately 500 players and parents were at the ground to see the Cup.
Anticipation of the impending Bledisloe Cup Test this coming Saturday (secure your tickets now) was inspired by the presence of Classic Wallabies Glen and Gary Ella, Simon Poidevin, Warwick Waugh, Tim Kelaher and Al Baxter as well as some friendly banter between a few of the Australian and New Zealand parents.
While in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, the Cup made a detour to the Rebel Sport Store at Westfield Bondi Junction for local onlookers, before sitting on the sidelines at the Parramatta verse West Harbour match at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park as part of the Shute Shield Premier Rugby competition.
On Sunday the Cup visited the Harbord Harlequins’ Junior Sunday Competition at North Curl Curl. It then starred alongside the Qantas Wallabies at the official Fan Day at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, attended by more than 600 Rugby fans and curious onlookers of all ages. Despite some unfavourable weather fans lined up in their hundreds to get signatures from their favourite Qantas Wallabies players and pose for a photo with the Bledisloe Cup.
While the tour is now more than half way through its busy two week schedule the Cup has proven extremely popular, delighting a variety of fans, Rugby players and students of all ages as it has made its way around several communities, schools and events all as part of the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival.
Tim Murray, President of the Pokolbin Junior Rugby Club said the Bledisloe Cup tour experience was outstanding and was pleased the Cup was brought to regional areas.
"The kids, coaches and parents get a great thrill from seeing the actual cup up close and then seeing it presented at the games. It's a great way to promote the game and attract new people to our club,” Mr Murray said.
President of the Randwick Juniors Rugby Club, Mark Harrison had similar sentiments about giving children the opportunity to experience the trophy.
“The excitement of the children’s faces when seeing the biggest trophy in world Rugby was great to see,” Mr Harrison said.
The second week of the tour will see the Cup travel through to the West, South East, North and Hills District of Sydney.
The Cup arrived on Australian shores on Thursday 2 August to embark on a two-week tour across NSW in the lead up to this year’s opening Bledisloe Cup Test at ANZ Stadium Sydney on Saturday 18 August.
To see the full calendar of events on offer during the inaugural Bledisloe Cup Festival visit – www.rugby.com.au
To secure your tickets to the highly anticipated opening Test of The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship and the opening Bledisloe Cup Test of 2012 click here.