Prince William to mark 50 days till kick-off of Junior World Championship 2014

Getty Images     10 Apr 2014     Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are attending the Regal Rugby Fun Day, a Small Blacks to All Blacks experience, as part of the Royal Tour. This is a free public event which will see eight rippa rugby teams participate in a mini-tournament, overseen by All Blacks captain Richie McCaw as well as other All Blacks and national team representatives.

- Prince William to formally hand JWC trophy to hosts New Zealand
- 8,000 free tickets already snapped up for Regal Rugby Fun Day
- Mass haka of Otago First XV players to welcome Royal Couple to stadium

A special royal trophy presentation for JWC2014 will take place before the Royal Couple present medals to the winning rippa rugby team and other participants.

The JWC tournament showcases the future stars of world rugby from the best under 20s teams in the world. 12 countries are taking part in the tournament which kicks-off in the Auckland region on Queen’s Birthday Monday 2 June and climaxes with the Final at Eden Park on Friday 20 June. New Zealand is hosting JWC for the first time.

Prince William will officially hand over the JWC trophy to All Black Aaron Smith. Smith was a member of the New Zealand Under 20 team which won the inaugural JWC tournament in 2008 in Wales where New Zealand beat England 38-3.

“We’re really honoured that Prince William has agreed to do this,” said JWC2014 Tournament Manager Dan Tatham. “We know he’s a keen rugby fan and given England are the current holders of the Junior World Championship trophy, it’s fantastic that we can mark 50 days to kick-off with an official royal handover to the host country.

“It’s also great that Aaron will receive the trophy. He’s a terrific ambassador for the game and proof that the Junior World Championship provides a platform for gifted young players to achieve higher honours. His team mates in 2008 included Sam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty and Zac Guildford who have all pulled on the black jersey in recent years.”

All up, 17 members of the 2013 Air New Zealand European Tour squad played in previous JWC tournaments. Tickets are now available for JWC2014 through Ticketmaster. Please click here.

Mass haka to welcome Royal Couple

New Zealand Rugby is planning a special welcome for the Royal Couple as the Regal Rugby Fun Day gets underway. On arriving to the field, they will be greeted by a mass haka involving more than 60 teenage rugby players from various Otago First XVs. All will be dressed in black t-shirts emblazoned with a large silver fern.

The event, which is hosted by New Zealand Rugby, Otago Rugby Football Union, Dunedin City Council and Forsyth Barr Stadium is proving a big draw card. 8,000 people have already snapped up tickets, filling the main Speights Stand at Forsyth Barr Stadium and prompting organisers to open the Mitre 10 Mega Stand.

“”I know Prince William loves his rugby and it’s great that rugby is able to play its part in making the tour pretty special for the Royal Couple,” said Richie McCaw.

“He’s a pretty decent bloke and I’ve met him a few times now. The All Blacks caught up with him in 2005 when the Lions toured and he’s come into our changing sheds a couple of times on our northern tours, especially when we have played Wales.

“It’ll be good to see them both at our royal rugby event in Dunedin and I’m looking forward to it. I know he loves his rugby and it’s great that rugby is able to play its part in making the Tour pretty special for them.”

Other players attending are All Black and Highlander Ben Smith, former All Black and current Highlander Brad Thorn, All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes, New Zealand Women’s Sevens captain Huriana Manuel and vice-captain Sarah Goss.

Note: rippa rugby is a popular, safe, non-contact form of rugby aimed at primary school aged children where instead of tackling, players rip velcro-fastened tags off each other's waists.

Important event information:

- Tickets can only be obtained at Forsyth Barr Stadium now – no longer available online
- Gates open at 9:45am
- Speight’s Stand ticket holder entry at Gate A or Gate H
- Those who haven’t secured their tickets before Sunday will need to go to the Mitre 10 Mega Stand, entry at Gate C opposite Logan Park on the day
- Rippa rugby and entertainment begins at 10am until approximately 1pm
- Everyone urged to be seated by 11am
- People are advised to park vehicles on the city side of Forsyth Barr Stadium or nearby streets surrounding Logan Park and anticipate a 10 minute walk into the stadium