Gateshead College Academy for Sport and Gateshead Council will be on Rugby World Cup duty in 2015, after being chosen as a team base for some of the biggest names in the sport.
The organisers England 2015 carried out a nationwide search for the very best training facilities, sports clubs and hotels, to provide 20 teams with a place to stay and train during next year’s tournament.
Now five venues in the region have been given the Rugby World Cup seal of approval and officially designated as Team Bases, after proving their credentials in what was a highly competitive process.
Gateshead International Stadium and Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport, will be the home of South Africa and Samoa.
Judith Doyle, principal at Gateshead College, said: “We provide opportunities for young rugby players to fulfil their potential, forge a worthwhile career in the sports industry and perhaps become a full-time professional player who could go on to star in future world cups.
“And to be able to do this using the same facilities and equipment used by the best players in the world will be a once-in-lifetime opportunity for Gateshead College students.”
Lewis Pendleton, sports academy manager at Gateshead College, said: “We are thrilled that two of the top rugby nations have chosen Gateshead as a base to prepare for their World Cup campaign. They will have access to some of the best training facilities in the country.”
Liam Gumbrill, RFU rugby coach at the Academy for Sport, added: “This will be a once-in-lifetime opportunity for our students to be in the presence of some of the best players in the world.
“So, the chance to share the same facilities and equipment will I am sure, be a truly unique experience that these young people will cherish long into the future.”
The search for Team Bases was launched in May 2013 and attracted more than 90 applications from across the UK. Each venue worked closely with England Rugby 2015 over the past 12 months, going through rigorous inspections and discussions with the teams before the final confirmation.
England Rugby 2015 CEO, Debbie Jevans, said: “As the organising committee for Rugby World Cup 2015 we are committed to ensuring that all participating teams have the optimum training environments available to them throughout the Tournament and in this regard we are delighted to announce our 41 official Team Bases for the event. Rugby, rightly, is at the heart of all our planning and we have worked closely with the teams to ensure that they have access to facilities and a Team Base that meet their individual needs.
“I would like to thank all those who have been part of the Team Base selection process and we are lucky to have some fantastic facilities right across the country. With a wide range of excellent facilities and locations secured the teams can be assured of having all their training needs met whilst allowing us to spread the reach of the Tournament even further throughout England and in Wales.”
The teams will go head to head as South Africa face Scotland in the first of three group matches. The first game will take place at St James’ Park on Saturday 3 October 2015. Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on Friday 18 September, with host nation England playing at Twickenham.