USA Rugby team is welcomed to Portsmouth

RUGBY US TEAM     (JT)      MRW     13/9/2015   Making time for the youngsters ! - The USA Rugby Team and Management just hours after arriving in the UK for The Rugby World Cup 2015, together with The US (United Services) 'Under 9's Team at HMS Nelson this afternoon a few minutes before the official welcoming ceremony in the famous Wardroom at HMS Neslon    Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (150913-4305) Professional Photographer  Mobile: 07802 217 569 E: malcolmrichardwells@gmail.com
RUGBY US TEAM (JT) MRW 13/9/2015 Making time for the youngsters ! - The USA Rugby Team and Management just hours after arriving in the UK for The Rugby World Cup 2015, together with The US (United Services) 'Under 9's Team at HMS Nelson this afternoon a few minutes before the official welcoming ceremony in the famous Wardroom at HMS Neslon Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150913-4305) Professional Photographer Mobile: 07802 217 569 E: malcolmrichardwells@gmail.com
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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A WARM Pompey welcome was given to the USA rugby team as it started its World Cup campaign in the city.

The ceremony at HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsea marked the beginning of the squad’s fight to win the trophy.

There were cheers of support as the smartly-dressed team made their big entrance into the ornate room, which is steeped in naval history.

The team’s first clash is against Samoa in Brighton on Sunday, September 20, and their base for the campaign will be Portsmouth.

The ceremony began with a performance of World in Union by the choir from Queen Elizabeth’s School from Wimborne Minster, Dorset.

There were welcome speeches from the chief executive of World Rugby Brett Gosper and the chief executive of Rugby Football Union Ian Ritchie.

USA player Niku Kruger takes a selfie with youngsters from the United Services under-9s team Pictures: Malcolm Wells

USA player Niku Kruger takes a selfie with youngsters from the United Services under-9s team Pictures: Malcolm Wells

Mr Gosper told the audience: ‘I have got a feeling it’s going to be the best Rugby World Cup ever.’

Each member of the team was presented with a tournament cap and Rugby World Cup 2015 participation medal.

Chris Wyles, the USA captain, said: ‘It’s an unbelievable honour to be here. It’s been a fantastic welcome.

‘It’s raised a lot of excitement in the boys. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

USA players were presented with their caps. Front from left, Captain Chris Wyles, Vice Captain Blaine Scully, and player Louis Stanfill

USA players were presented with their caps. Front from left, Captain Chris Wyles, Vice Captain Blaine Scully, and player Louis Stanfill

Rear Admiral Keith Beckett CBE said it was a ‘fiercesomely impressive-looking’ American team.

He said the navy had a long tradition of playing rugby.

He invited the team ‘to see what the area has to offer’.

Sitting in the audience were Colin and Lyn Burton, from Old Portsmouth.

Their god-daughter, Natalie Truelove, from Kent, is the team liaison officer for the USA team.

‘There’s a lot of links between the navy and the American navy,’ said Mr Burton. ‘It’s nice that America are based here.’

The ceremony finished with a compelling performance from the Royal Military Band.

Afterwards the team posed for pictures by HMS Victory.

England’s campaign begins at Twickenham on Friday, September 18 when the team takes on Fiji. Kick-off is at 8pm.

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