More than 47,500 rugby fans turned out to see the world’s best young rugby players perform in IRB Under 21 World Championship in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders, surpassing last year’s cumulative total by over 17,500.
Despite the rain, 5623 spectators watched New Zealand regain the title in style with a 47-19 victory over a passionate Irish side at Hughenden yesterday. New Zealand coach Bryce Woodward said: ‘This day was just so superior to what has happened in the past.
‘Playing at a stadium of this size with over 5000 people and a great atmosphere was just fantastic,’ he added.
IRB Tournament Director Gethin Jenkins said: ‘We have had a wonderful tournament with a tremendous climax at Finals Day where, once again, the crowd exceeded our expectations, in spite of the weather.
‘We feel this tournament in Scotland has brought a new higher standard of rugby to the under-21 competition and we have seen a northern hemisphere team reach the final for the first time.
‘We commend Scottish Rugby, their sponsor Intelligent Finance, and their partners from EventScotland, VisitScotland, sportscotland, Glasgow City Council, City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Borders Council for a most successful competition.’
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Phil Anderton said: ‘We set out at the beginning of this competition to deliver two things; the first was an operationally flawless tournament and the second was to attract record crowds and to increase the interest in the sport in Scotland.
‘We feel that we have achieved both goals and I am personally delighted. We have effectively banished the experience of the 1999 World Cup and can now look to the future. We are extremely pleased that the International Rugby Board have commended us and I thank Gethin for his kind words.
‘Particular thanks must also go to EventScotland for their support and backing, along with our sponsor and council partners. We must also recognise the efforts of the clubs, our staff and countless volunteers for all they have done to make the tournament a huge success,’ he added.
Frank McAveety MSP, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, said: ‘I am tremendously excited by the record attendances and the quality of rugby and enthusiasm of the authorities that collaborated in bringing this tournament to Scotland.
‘Finals day at Hughenden saw a tremendous crowd and it augurs well for our ambition to bring further, perhaps even bigger, rugby events to Scotland.’
For further information please contact
David Sutherland, 0131 346 5166