This year’s Rugby World Cup is now only a couple of weeks away.
The 29th of September will see a 12,000 strong team of rugby fans flock to Exeter’s Sandy Park stadium for the eagerly-awaited Tonga v. Namibia game, creating a huge boost for local businesses. Surrounded by award-winning countryside and featuring a plethora of interesting attractions, Exeter’s in good shape for hosting the matches. So with the excitement building fast, how are Exeter’s locals and businesses getting ready for the landmark event?
Fancy a kick around?
Some of you may have noticed we’ve got a few additions to the city in the form of full-size rugby posts. There are a total of 10 posts spread throughout the city, courtesy of the RFU Posts In Parks Legacy programme, with each one being planted in prominent locations including right outside our own front door in Southernhay gardens. Devised back in 2013, the structures marked the start of a 2-year countdown which has nearly come to an end!
The posts mark the first time any city in England has hosted a World Cup game since 1991. The posts were installed to raise awareness of Exeter’s role in the World Cup, get people talking at a local level and encourage more people to take part in the sport themselves.
How Can We Get Involved Without Tickets?
Like many of us, chances are you weren’t able to get your hands on any Rugby World Cup tickets but if you’re still looking for a way to join in the fun and embrace the atmosphere then Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens may have something for you. The city centre location will be showcasing the events live on a large TV screen, with fun activities for kids and food stalls available, all with free entry. The event will be running throughout the duration of the World Cup so there’s loads of time to get in on the action.
Although dwarfed by the Sandy Park stadium capacity of 12,300, Northernhay Gardens will play host to 5,000 people each day. Local rugby teams and Active Devon will also be participating in the event, offering the public a chance to try the sport for themselves or have a go at other activities.
Tangled In Excitement
In collaboration with Bunyip Buttons and Beads in Exeter, arty members of the public are being asked to donate materials to the shop which will be used to stitch together patterns and decorate the City. The streets are being wrapped with colourful fabrics, representing the colours of the teams in the Rugby World Cup – you may have already seen some of the knitted jumpers hanging around in Princesshay. It is estimated that over 450,000 people will come to the UK for the globally-televised event, so we think community projects like this will start cropping up more and more in the next couple weeks in order to get Exeter looking as cheerful as possible for the new wave of visitors.
The Fore Street shop is encouraging everyone to get involved, whether they’re complete craft novices or consider themselves knitting specialists. Upon completion of the Rugby World Cup, it has been suggested that the textiles are converted into blankets and scarfs for the homeless and other charities. Find out more about this project here.
Of course if rugby is not your thing, there’s a vast array of alternative activities to keep you occupied as well, more details here.
What Matches Are Coming To Exeter (Sandy Park)?
- Tuesday 29th September – Tonga vs. Namibia (16:45)
- Wednesday 7th October – Namibia vs. Georgia (20:00)
- Sunday 11th October – Italy vs. Romania (14:30)
Image Sources (in order of appearance)
- Featured image