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Prince’s niece welcomes rugby cup tour to Ipswich

The niece of rugby legend Prince Obolensky will be a guest of honour when the World Cup trophy visits Ipswich as part of its nationwide tour.

The public will have the chance to see the Webb Ellis Cup in the town centre next to the statue of Alexander Obolensky on Tuesday 11th August.

Andrew Sarek, the RFU Council Member representing the Eastern Counties, and Councillor Glen Chisholm, the Mayor of Ipswich, will welcome the trophy to Cromwell Square at 2pm. They will be accompanied by Princess Alexandra Obolensky, who attended the launch five years ago of the iconic statue of her uncle by Harry Gray.

ObolenskyPrince Obolensky became known as the “flying prince” after he scored two sensational tries on his debut in 1936 when he helped England to their first victory over the All Blacks. Sadly, he was killed in a flying accident on landing his Hurricane at Martlesham Heath in 1940 and is buried in a war grave at Ipswich Cemetery. He remains an iconic figure in England rugby folklore.

Princess Alexandra Obolensky said today: “It is fitting that the World Cup trophy tour is coming to Ipswich at the site of the Prince’s statue. I am looking forward to the day and am grateful to the RFU and partners for putting this event together. I am also looking forward to an exciting tournament in the autumn – perhaps we shall see some tries that will match my uncle’s efforts against the All Blacks all those years ago.”

A variety of rugby-based entertainment for the public is being laid on in Cromwell Square by the RFU, Eastern Counties Rugby, Suffolk Sport and Ipswich Borough Council. The event will continue until 4pm.

Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Leader and Ipswich portfolio-holder, Councillor Christopher Hudson, said: “It’s really exciting and very fitting that the Webb Ellis Cup is coming to Ipswich where Prince Obolensky, one of England’s all-time great players is commemorated. We hope its visit will inspire more young people to take-up the sport and, in doing so, help our ambitions of becoming the most active county in England.”

Ipswich Borough Councillor Alasdair Ross, a former soldier who played rugby for his regiment in Ireland, Germany and Bosnia, added: “This will be a very proud moment for Ipswich people – not only rugby fans. It is fitting that the biggest cup in the game is coming to the statue of one of the world’s greatest ever rugby stars. I am looking forward to the event and to England winning the trophy in the autumn.”

Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour information can be viewed at www.rugbyworldcup.com/trophy-tour

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