Leeds volunteers try to score Rugby World Cup roles

Pack hopeful Linda Gibson takes a selfie with the Webb Ellis Cup at the Leeds Beckett event.
Pack hopeful Linda Gibson takes a selfie with the Webb Ellis Cup at the Leeds Beckett event.
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First there were the Games Makers, volunteers who helped ensure the smooth running of the London 2012 Olympics.

Then came the Tour Makers, a 12,000-strong army that kept the wheels of the Grand Départ turning smoothly in Yorkshire this summer.

Now the search is on for members of The Pack, the men and women who will play a key off-the-field role during next year’s Rugby World Cup.

And today the team tasked with running the rule over potential recruits touched down at the Headingley campus of Leeds Beckett University, formerly Leeds Met.

Dozens of would-be volunteers attended a ‘try out’ session, taking part in interviews and other selection activities.

They will have to wait until the start of next year to hear if they have been chosen to join The Pack, which will comprise 6,000 people nationwide handling meet-and-greet, direction-giving and other duties.

Coun Kevin Ritchie, Leeds City Council’s lead member with responsibility for sport said: “It is fantastic to see so many volunteers wanting to be involved with this global sporting event.

“We have a strong volunteer base in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region and it is great to see such an interactive event put on to help selection with The Pack.”

Today’s event was also attended by Leeds-born Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson and current Yorkshire Carnegie players Jon Clarke and Lee Imiolek.

Pride of place, however, went to the Webb Ellis Cup, the trophy in the sights of the 20 teams who are taking part in the 2015 tournament in England and Wales from September 18 to October 31.

Two group games are being held at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground – Italy versus Canada on September 26 and Scotland versus USA on September 27.

Canada, Scotland and USA will be based in the city during the event, using training facilities at sites including Leeds University, Leeds Beckett University and the John Charles Centre for Sport.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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