England legend brings Rugby World Cup to Hartlepool

CUP VISIT: England stars Jason Leonard and Ollie Phillips unveil the new club statue during their visit to West Hartlepool Rugby Club with the Rugby World Club.

CUP VISIT: England stars Jason Leonard and Ollie Phillips unveil the new club statue during their visit to West Hartlepool Rugby Club with the Rugby World Club.

2
Have your say

Hartlepool was on a rugby high today as the World Cup arrived in town.

And in a double boost, England legend Jason Leonard - a prop in the England winning side of Rugby World Cup 2003 - also paid a visit to open the new £900,000 West Hartlepool Rugby Club clubhouse.

The exhibition will be a real celebration of some of the town’s early sporting achievements and, we hope, will also be a source of inspiration for our young rugby stars of the future.

Chris McLoughlin, honorary secretary of Hartlepool and District Rugby Football Union

Club secretary Graham Frankland described it as “a very special moment” and said the opportunity to open the clubhouse while the trophy was in town was “a fantastic occasion.”

The trophy’s worldwide journey marks the countdown to the Rugby World Cup 2015 opening ceremony at Twickenham Stadium on September 18. Meanwhile, plans have been unveiled for an exhibition to celebrate the town’s rugby heritage.

Working with the town’s Rugby Football Union teams, Hartlepool Council’s Museums Service will hold the display in the Central Library in York Road from Tuesday, October 6, to Thursday, October 29 as part of a nationwide Festival of Rugby. Entry is free.

On show will be early fixture posters, programmes, tickets, advertising handbills and ground plans.

As well as the exhibition, two rugby-themed films - Tom Brown’s Schooldays and Invictus - will be shown on Monday, September 7t at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre. Tickets (including tea and coffee) cost £3 per movie or £5 for both . To book call (01429) 890000.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, Chair of Hartlepool Council’s Regeneration Services Policy Committee, said: “People in Hartlepool are passionate about their rugby and we are delighted to be working with the town’s local clubs to spread awareness of the game’s rich history in the town.”

Chris McLoughlin, Honorary Secretary of Hartlepool and District Rugby Football Union, added: “The collection which will be on show is probably unique and gives a marvellous insight into the early development of the game in Hartlepool.”

For more information about the exhibition call (01429) 272905.