RWC 2015 - Week 8 - The Trophy Tour hits Manchester
The Trophy Tour hits Manchester
Guive Shafie, Partnerships Executive
We arrived outside the central library and were greeted with a dark and gloomy Manchester Monday morning, however, there was almost an immediate spanner in the works once we arrived to find the doors of the library were locked! The sense of tension subsided once a small crowd gathered at the entrance and our minds were at ease. The excitement in the morning was palpable, well worth the early wake up call.
Finally, the doors opened to a barrage of branding and unmistakable aroma of bacon and sausage sandwiches, or as more locally known, butties. As our noses followed the food, fresh tea and coffee, our senses were once again interrupted by a gleaming object; The Webb Ellis Cup. A debate immediately broke out, is it real? Is it a replica? Is it a cheap novelty that has been picked up? However, as we approached this gleaming beacon, the sense of occasion and power that the trophy exerted made us fall silent. I could feel in my heart of hearts this was it, the real trophy, and the dream of every rugby player.
As we came within reach of a photograph of this momentous occasion, the hoard of hard working volunteers insisted for us not to touch the trophy. Disappointed yet unflustered, we in turn handed our phones to a patient volunteer, who had clearly been assigned the position 'controller of cameras', and many photos with our biggest grins were taken.
Once our photos were studied and compared with guests from Mediacom, Dentsu and MEC who had graciously accepted our invitations, our minds once again turned to the tempting choices on offer at the venue. Shall it be sausage? Or bacon? We made our move and approached the stand where eye contact was made with a lovely attendant. Yet, in the mêlée of people and photographs our eyes crossed with a sharply dressed gentleman. Is it? Could it be? The hero of Sale Sharks? The man who brought the world to a standstill for a controversial ten minutes in the 2007 World Cup final? The all time Premiership Rugby top try scorer? It was! The one and only Mark Cueto!
We gingerly approached one by one to ask for a photograph with the Ex-England International and British and Irish Lion, but as we approached, a large crowd saw an opportunity and gathered around our momentum, meaning we could only spend a fraction of time with Mark. Some of our invitees did manage photos with him and the Trophy, a strange ironic twist from where he was oh-so close in 2007 and now only at an arms length once again.
In the end, our time came to a close and we stepped down from the beautifully architected library into the Manchester weather, stubbornly gloomy and now rainy to add insult to injury. Still, our spirits remained high for the day ahead. These memories will not hastily be forgotten.