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Rugby World Cup
IRB takes World Cup to UN
ESPNscrum Staff
April 13, 2011
A close up view of the Rugby World Cup trophy - the Webb Wllis Cup
The Webb Ellis Cup was presented at the UN on Tuesday © IRB
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Players/Officials: Bernard Lapasset
Tournaments/Tours: IRB Rugby World Cup

International Rugby Board (IRB) delegates stepped up their preparations for September's Rugby World Cup with a visit to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday.

The Webb Ellis Cup was presented to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon by IRB chief Bernard Lapasset, who was keen to stress rugby's ability to 'drive social change'.

Recent figures showed a 19% increase in global participation since the 2007 World Cup, with playing numbers on the rise in eastern Europe, China and the USA.

"Like the United Nations we have long recognised sport's wider responsibility to society and its ability to drive social change," he said in his address. "Sport can cross barriers. Sport boosts self esteem. Sport promotes inclusivity. Sport creates communities and sport can capture the hearts and minds of men, women and children around the world.

"We are proud as rugby grows across every continent that the sport's strong values of teamwork, integrity, discipline, respect and passion still make a real difference in modern society.

"The Webb Ellis Cup is a symbol of the power of sport to drive social change. In the hands of Nelson Mandela in 1995 it helped unite a nation. We hope that it will continue to inspire future generations to participate, to express themselves and to have fun."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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