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Mark Pawsey MP: 100 days until the 'Parliamentary' Rugby World Cup

Mark Pawsey MP: 100 days until the 'Parliamentary' Rugby World Cup
3 min read

Rugby's MP Mark Pawsey explains the other Rugby World Cup played by British MPs against teams made up of 300 overseas politicians dusting their boots off.

This month we crossed the 100 day line until the start of the Rugby World Cup in England during September and October. Parliamentary colleagues from Wales, Scotland and Ireland may not be looking forward to England’s inevitable cup victory, as I am, but the profile of the game of rugby and my constituency as its birthplace is something that everyone can get behind.    

Over the past six World Cup tournaments, parliaments and governments of the host nation have held parliamentary tournaments at the same time. Politicians of all stripes have been asked to put on the same kit and take to the field to play other parliamentary teams. Like the real thing, we’ve won some and we’ve lost some. But in every tournament friendships have been forged and dialogue promoted through a shared passion for rugby.  

From 13th to 17th September England will play host to the sixth Parliamentary World Cup, which will see over 300 politicians visit the UK in the week before RWC 2015 for a festival of international rugby, at Richmond and in my constituency of Rugby. The tournament will even open with celebrations and matches on the very pitch where the game was born, on The Close at Rugby School. Rugby is coming home and bringing the world with it. We have a chance to foster relationships the world over in the best way rugby fans can - by pushing, tackling and shoving each other all over the pitch.

Let’s be clear though: this isn’t just an opportunity for politicians from around the world to dig out their old boots for a runabout on the rugby field. The Parliamentary World Cup doesn’t receive public money, but we will be supporting charities that change the lives of people around the UK. Thanks to generosity of our sponsors, we hope not only to be good hosts, but stand by some good causes too. Their support will prove sport has the power to change the world and, to me, will be the making of the tournament.   

The parliamentary tournament will be a unique opportunity for politicians, sponsors and prominent rugby figures from all over the world to come together in a great atmosphere where life-long friendships can be made. If RWC 2015 is about competing, PWC 2015 is about connecting. As the late Charles Kennedy, a stalwart of the inaugural Parliamentary World Cup tournament in South Africa in 1995, put it: “This is politics with a difference; sport with a difference too.” And knows - we might even win this one.

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