LUCKY pupils have been enjoying a close-up view of the Rugby League World Cup.
The coveted trophy has been visiting schools throughout Wrexham with two tournament matches to be played in the town later this year.
One of its stops was at the Rofft School in Marford. Pupils had the opportunity to have their photo taken with the 24-inch silver plated trophy as well as hear stories about its illustrious past.
It was commissioned by Paul Barrière, a former French Resistance fighter, for rugby league’s inaugural 1954 World Cup.
The trophy was presented to the winning nation at the next four tournaments before being stolen from Bradford’s Midland Hotel, six days before the 1970 final.
Twenty years later father-of-four Stephen Uttley discovered the trophy, which originally cost eight million French Francs (approx. £500,000 today), among rubbish dumped in a ditch near the Bradford and Bingley Rugby League Club.
It was restored to its former glory for the 2000 World Cup.
During the trophy’s visit, pupils at the Rofft were also treated to a rugby league skills session organised by local community coaches.
Allen Jones, community rugby league coach said: “All the pupils were very excited to see and have their photo taken with the Rugby League World Cup trophy.
“Rugby league is now being widely taught in schools in Wrexham and the response from both pupils and teachers has been tremendous.
“With the Rugby League World Cup coming to Wrexham, hopefully we will see more and more young people take an interest in the sport and leave a lasting legacy.”
Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground will host two matches for the Rugby League World Cup.
On Sunday, November 3, co-hosts Wales will take on World Cup newcomers USA while on Saturday, November 16, the stadium will host a quarter final match between the winners of Group A and Group D.
Tickets for both games can be bought by calling 0844 847 2013 (24hrs) or online at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets.