Actually, it comes to quite a few towns, including two of the most historic in the South West, Gloucester and Exeter where games will be played. While Cheltenham, Bristol, Swansea and Cardiff all welcome teams at ceremonies involving rugby clubs and schools.
Kingsholm, Gloucester’s ground is said to have the noisiest crowd in the league, and the Shed Stand is as familiar to rugby fans as the Kop is to football punters. With a total capacity of 16,500, tickets for the Rugby World Cup matches are like gold dust, with teams from as far away as the USA, Japan, Argentina and South Africa making their appearance in the town for the first round of matches.
Gloucester boasts a prestigious history, with its landmark cathedral and the traditional limestone villages of the Cotswolds. Its nautical history is represented by the rejuvenated Victorian quays and canals, and it was once home to the infamous Dick Whittington.
Today, the city is gearing up to welcome visitors from all over the world for the tournament and the regions’ hosts and in particular, the caterers, are expected to be on full alert as the competition commences.
Similarly further down the M5, Exeter is also getting ready for the start, with teams from Namibia, Georgia, Italy, Tonga, and Romania amongst others making the city their home for the tournament. Sandy Park is home to the recently-promoted Exeter Chiefs who started playing rugby as early as 1873.
Sandy Park is set to be one of the biggest rugby grounds in England, with a current capacity of 10,744, which is set to double in the next two years with a refurbishment planned. In the meantime, the ground is expected to be packed for the upcoming games, and the town is on standby for the hordes of visitors who will descend on this university town.
In fact, Exeter has already announced a Fanzone, located in Northernhay Gardens in Exeter, which offers free entry throughout the tournament, with matches screened live on a big screen, and a variety of events and entertainment for everyone including food stalls.
Venue and team preparation
There will be 13 venues overall hosting the Rugby World Cup 2015 which begins on Friday September 18, 2015 with the opening match at Twickenham through to Saturday October 31, 2015.
England’s Rugby World Cup squad has just been named with a third playing for South West clubs as follows:
• Full-backs: Brown (Harlequins), Goode (Saracens)
• Wings: Nowell (Exeter), May (Gloucester), Watson (Bath)
• Centres: Joseph (Bath), Barritt (Saracens), Slade (Exeter), Burgess (Bath)
• Fly-halves: Ford (Bath), Farrell (Saracens)
• Scrum-halves: B Youngs (Leicester), Care (Harlequins), Wigglesworth (Saracens)
• Hookers: T Youngs (Leicester), Webber (Bath), George (Saracens)
• Props: Marler (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), Cole (Leicester), Wilson (Bath), Brookes (Northampton)
• Second-rows: Lawes (Northampton), Launchbury (Wasps), Parling (Exeter Chiefs), Kruis (Saracens)
• Flankers: Haskell (Wasps), Robshaw (Harlequins), Wood (Northampton)
• No8s: Morgan (Gloucester), B Vunipola (Saracens)
If you are a caterer or own a restaurant or pub that is showing the games, make sure that your team is ready and your kitchen equipment is up and running, in particular the oven. Call AC Services (Southern) for a pre-emptive check on your Rational oven before the games begin!