Trophy tour kicks off World Cup countdown

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The International Rugby Board has launched a world tour of the Webb Ellis Cup to start the countdown to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

It's exactly one year until one of the biggest sporting events in the world begins in New Zealand, and various events have taken place around the country to mark the date.

The most prestigious prize in rugby began its journey at the Eden Park stadium in Auckland, New Zealand and it will now make it's way around the globe before heading back for the tournament that begins on 9 September 2011.

Hans Erik Tuijt, from the tournament's sponsors said, "We will be taking the Cup around the globe, travelling from New Zealand to Ireland and from Argentina to South Africa. Through the Tour we aim to encourage more people than ever to follow the event when it starts in September 2011.

"We are looking forward to enabling supporters around the world to meet the Cup and to share stories about past World Cups. And of course to create new stories for others for whom this will be their first experience."

Since the first Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 1987, the event has grown into the third largest sporting event in the world. The number of spectators has more than doubled and in 2007 World Cup was watched by more than 2.24 million people.

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