The ceremonies will also include the formal presentation of official Tournament caps and Rugby World Cup 2015 participation medals.
The schools were chosen following an application process, led by leading independent charity Youth Sport Trust, which was open to all schools in England and Wales. With over 100 applications, the standard was very high resulting in a competitive judging process, which was carried out by Tournament Organisers, England Rugby 2015, the Youth Sport Trust and the RFU.
The successful schools are as follows:
Westdene Primary School from Brighton will welcome Japan in Brighton
The Maynard School from Exeter will welcome Australia in Bath
Chestnuts Primary School from Bletchley, Milton Keynes will welcome Samoa in Brighton
St Aubyn’s School from South Woodford, Essex, will welcome Romania in London
Eastbourne College will welcome South Africa in Eastbourne
The Queen’s Church of England Primary School, Richmond, will welcome Italy in London
Trinity School from Croydon will welcome France in London
Longcroft School from Beverley, East Yorkshire, will welcome England in London
Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen from Bethesda, Gwynedd in Wales, will welcome Canada in Swansea
Bishop’s Cleeve Primary Academy from Cheltenham will welcome Tonga in Cheltenham
Queen Elizabeth’s School from Wimborne Minster, Dorset, will welcome USA in Portsmouth
Thurstable School from Tiptree, Essex, will welcome Fiji in London
St Brendan’s Sixth Form College from Bristol, will welcome Georgia in Bristol
St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School from Reigate will welcome Wales in London
Isbourne Valley School from Gloucestershire will welcome Scotland in Gloucester
Hawthorn Primary School from Pontypridd Wales, will welcome Uruguay in Cardiff
Chase Bridge Primary School from Twickenham will welcome Namibia in London
St Angela’s Ursuline School from Forest Gate, London, will welcome New Zealand in London
Alderman’s Green Primary School from Coventry will welcome Ireland in Burton Upon Trent
Haileybury School from Hertford will welcome Argentina in Hertford
Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, Stephen Brown, said: “We were really pleased with the response we’ve seen from schools wanting to be part of the Welcome Ceremonies for Rugby World Cup 2015. The standard of the applications was very high and I would like to thank all schools that took the time to apply. We now have 20 excellent choirs from across England and Wales that will help us to welcome the participating unions to the Tournament and make it a celebration of Rugby. We hope this will provide them with unforgettable memories and give them and the teams a fantastic Tournament experience.”
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Great people make great events and it is wonderful to see such incredible levels of excitement and enthusiasm from the schools who will welcome the world’s best players to Rugby’s greatest event. I am sure that these very special moments will be cherished by the participating teams and fans alike and set the tone for what will be a very special Rugby World Cup.”
The choirs vary in size from 18 to 50 pupils and perform in a range of musical styles, including choral and gospel. Each choir has been asked to sing the official Rugby World Cup anthem, World in Union, during the ceremonies that will officially welcome the 20 teams to the Tournament and will be a celebration of Rugby.
Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive, Ali Oliver, added: “We are very excited to be able to offer this unique opportunity for schools to be involved in the Welcome Ceremonies for Rugby World Cup 2015. We hope that it will impact not only the pupils performing, but the whole school to engage with the Tournament in a way that inspires learning. The Youth Sport Trust is delighted to support and work with England Rugby 2015 and we look forward to seeing great creativity in the school performances.”
The venues and dates of the ceremonies will be announced in the coming months.
Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director of the RFU added: “Schools across the nation are eagerly looking forward to Rugby World Cup 2015 and it is fantastic to see such a wide range of them playing an active role in the Welcome Ceremonies.
“We are working hard to expose more schools to Rugby Union and its values, encouraging students to watch games, take up the sport and join local clubs. Through our All Schools programme we will have 400 more secondary schools playing Rugby by the time the Tournament starts, over 1,000 have signed up so far to the online schools resource pack linked to the Tournament and there has been a great response from schools to the Festival of Rugby, which will run from June 10 until October 31.”
Mr Ian O’Donnell, Headteacher of Longcroft School, who will be welcoming England, said: “Longcroft School is thrilled to be part of this prestigious international event. Alongside other successes, the school has a long history of both sporting and musical achievements, which makes welcoming the England Rugby team all the more special. We are very proud of our Gospel Choir, which continues to go from strength to strength. Everyone at Longcroft wishes them luck and will be flying the flag for England, as they compete against other teams from around the world in Rugby World Cup 2015.”
Hefin Evans, Head of Music at Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, who will be welcoming Canada, said: “Such an event as Rugby World Cup 2015 is eagerly anticipated in Bethesda. As might be expected, the whole area, as well as the school pupils, is fanatical in support for the Welsh Rugby team! The choir were ecstatic when they discovered that they had been selected to take part in one of the Welcoming Ceremonies. Such an opportunity is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. As the music teacher, I have decided that controlling their enthusiasm is an impossible job therefore we will all embrace the opportunity to perform with passion and joy.”