A Year In Sport: East London looks for more legacy
10:00 17 January 2015
Clubs excited by 2015 Rugby World Cup
The excitement is growing – the Rugby World Cup is just around the corner and it will be right on your doorstep here in East London.
The Olympic Stadium in Stratford will hold five matches in September and October, with only Twickenham and the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff holding more.
And it’s hardly surprising it has got both the young and the old of East London Rugby Club excited.
Seventeen-year-old Alex Permain, from West Ham, plays for the club and is Newham’s Young Rugby Ambassador and he for one cannot wait to welcome some of the greatest rugby players to his borough.
“I want young people like me to feel excited about Newham hosting Rugby World Cup 2015,” said Permain.“I have been involved in rugby since I was five. My dad plays for East London so I’ve always been there watching and helping out.This is my first season training with the team and playing too so I know what’s great about the game, but it is Newham’s young people who can spread the word and help to welcome fans, players and visitors from all over the world.
“Having the five matches at the Olympic Stadium is a great opportunity for people of all ages who have never played before to come and give rugby a go at East London.
“Being Newham’s Young Rugby Ambassador in the lead up to the tournament is an honour and a big responsibility. I’m excited about being involved from both a playing and a social side.”
The club are using the interest generated by the tournament to develop rugby within the borough.
And chairman Nick Bracken believes a tournament of this stature can leave a legacy for the borough
“That we will be seeing current and former world champions New Zealand and South Africa amongst others playing right here on our doorstep will be truly inspirational,” he said.
“With support from Newham Council and the Rugby Football Union we are upgrading and installing floodlights on our pitches at the Memorial Ground in West Ham and refurbishing changing rooms and clubhouse facilities.
“More importantly the council is supporting our players going into schools to coach young people in a sport many will not have tried before.
“From that we will form representative age group teams under the banner of Newham Knights.
“With rugby now a global game and Newham having such a diverse community, it is not unrealistic that a child who was coached first by us could in future play for one of the sport’s emerging nations. We will ensure Rugby World Cup 2015 leaves its legacy here.”