SPORTS

Opening Ceremony Plan

Rugby World Cup organisers have devised a contingency plan to avoid England’s opening game against Fiji being delayed by the opening ceremony on September 19. Performers will tell the story
23 Aug 2015 17:25
Opening Ceremony Plan
Vodafone Flying Fijians rep Campese Ma’afu escorts Miss Newnet Shreeti Prasad during the 2015 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival yesterday. Photo: Jona Konataci

Rugby World Cup organisers have devised a contingency plan to avoid England’s opening game against Fiji being delayed by the opening ceremony on September 19.

Performers will tell the story of the sport’s birth — expected to include William Webb Ellis picking up a football and running with it at Rugby School in 1823 — in a 20-minute show that will finish just 40 minutes before kick-off in the Pool A test at Twickenham.

Groundsmen will have an extremely tight window to clear the pitch, with organisers arranging the pre-match show so acts can be instantly cut if there is any danger of the 8pm kick-off time being compromised.

“The ceremony is broken down into segments and if something were to go wrong, they can drop a segment without the audience noticing to keep kick-off exactly on time,’ World Cup managing director Stephen Brown said.

Players will be expected to schedule their warm-ups around the ceremony and will have allocated areas to carry out their preparations.

“The teams are aware of the arrangements and it won’t have any fundamental impact,” said Brown.

“‘They will be out just before the ceremony, then return to the changing rooms. The most important thing is that it doesn’t get in the way of the rugby.” Daily Mail

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