Something to look forward to: Gloucester travel firm prepares to pass out tickets for the Rugby World Cup 2023
Fans of rugby will know this is not the first time Gloucester-based England Rugby Travel has secured the prize that is the title of official travel agent for a Rugby World Cup.
But in times like we are going through, having just witnessed a Six Nations championship played to near empty stadiums due to the world-wide pandemic, to have good news about a Gloucestershire business and to dream of 2023 in France...
History-savvy fans will know England Rugby Travel is part of the Mike Burton Group, founded and named after the former Gloucester, England and British and Irish Lions player.
And if they are equally good on the detail when it comes to the business itself will know this is the fifth time it has been appointed as an Official Travel Agent for Rugby World Cup France 2023.
Accolades and praise for the commercial win have come from high places.
“It’s great that England Rugby Travel will be supporting our fans and providing some amazing experiences at France 2023,” said Eddie Jones, head coach of England Rugby.
“I know first-hand what an excellent service they offer and we want to give as many fans as possible the chance to be part of the tournament and get behind England.
“The Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 was incredible tournament and we want to create the same impact in France.”
Phil Vickery, the former Gloucester and England Rugby’s world cup-winner in 2003, captain and finalist in 2007, and now Cheltenham restaurateur, put it like this: “When you are supported by England Rugby Travel it ain’t gonna to go wrong.”
Justin Hopwood, chief commercial officer at England Rugby Travel - a joint venture between Mike Burton Group and the RFU - said the county business was “delighted” to be in the driving seat again to take fans to another world cup.
“Brilliant work from the team on the bid and proposal, looking forward to working with the France 2023 team, and now plans are underway for some innovative and exciting new product, concepts and experiences for launch next year, with the support of England Rugby, Eddie Jones and everyone at the RFU,” said Mr Hopwood.
France 2023 follows the incredible spectacle that was Japan in 2019, and will be the tenth anniversary of what is billed as “the world’s greatest rugby tournament".
For England fans it will certainly be that if their team manages to go one better than four years previously, and lift the glory that is the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time.
For the uninformed, or those who simply want to brush up on their stats, the tournament will see nine venues host games over a 48 day stretch at an event which will also mark 200 years since the birth of the sport.
The year 1823 being when William Webb Ellis is said to have first picked up the ball during a game of football and run with it at Rugby School in Warwickshire, giving birth to the game that spread across the globe.
As well as this piece of news, fans will not have to wait until 2023 for the excitement to begin, with the official draw - which includes the twelve seeded teams - due to take place in Paris in December.
England Rugby Travel, headquartered in Quedgeley, has been taking fans to the rugby tournament since 2007.
During that time it estimated more than 100,000 fans have benefited with tickets, travel, accommodation, and events organised by the travel company.