HMS Iron Duke Hosts The Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup
HMS Iron Duke hosted the Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup as she sailed into Cape Town, South Africa earlier this month.
On its fifth leg of the Rugby World Cup tour, the Webb Ellis Trophy was brought onboard as the ship made its way into its berth at the V&A Waterfront. Accompanied by a team of handlers and former England Rugby 7’s Captain Ollie Phillips, the ship provided an interesting backdrop for the trophy; unfortunately the magnificent sight of Table Mountain was blocked by dark skies and heavy cloud. The ship marked its arrival in Cape Town with a 21 gun salute, with the guns on Signal Hill making their reply, much to the delight of the residents of Cape Town.
Despite the efforts of the weather, it did little to dampen the spirits of the Ship’s Company who, eager to see the Webb Ellis trophy, had plenty of opportunity to get their picture, or in some cases a ‘selfie’. Members of the Ship’s rugby team were also given the opportunity to visit the Newlands Rugby Stadium and take part in the ‘DHL challenge’, which involved a series of mini competitions with Rugby World Cup winner Martin Corry MBE and South African cricketer Jacques Khallis. SLt Oliver Gwinnutt, one of the Ship’s Young Officers said:
“The opportunity to throw a rugby ball around with two big sporting personalities at a fantastic stadium was a once in a lifetime opportunity and not something I am going to forget anytime soon. It was surreal to think that morning I had been on the bridge bringing the Ship in and by the afternoon I am playing rugby in Cape Town with a World Cup winner!”
The day continued with a team from Iron Duke marching through the V&A Waterfront providing an escort to the Webb Ellis Trophy and Martin Corry MBE, the march finished at the Springbok Experience, the official South Africa Rugby museum where yet another photo opportunity took place. The day culminated in the Webb Ellis Trophy taking centre stage during the evening’s capability demonstration onboard Iron Duke.
As well as the Ship’s rugby team taking part in the DHL challenge, Ollie Phillips also provided the team with an opportunity to train with him and take part in a game of touch rugby at the Naval Sports ground near Simon’s Town.
The Ship’s football team also made the most of the visit enjoying a competitive outing against De Beers AFC. The Iron Duke team were looking as if they might suffer a defeat, until Dan ‘The Met Man’ Robbins took to the field, scoring a hat trick and taking the final score to a 5 – 5 draw.
The rugby theme continued during the visit with members of the Ship’s Company travelling to the Newlands Stadium to watch Western Province play the Golden Lions in the ABSA Currie Cup. The home team took an early lead but the determined Lions continued to take the fight to Western Province, despite scoring a couple of convincing tries the Lions never really looked like winners and a final try by Western province in the last few minutes secured the win, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Buy your RNRU Away Replica (as seen worn above by members of the Ship's Company) before 30th September and receive free P&P