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Victor Ubogu

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We are fast approaching one of my favourite events of the year… The Cyclothon.   What’s not to love?  All day delicious fare, relaxing massage therapy for those aching muscles and a chance to mingle with some of the greatest rugby legends of our time and of course, yours truly!

But on a more serious note, Cyclothon represents many things to many people.  For some, it’s a challenging relay race, a chance to push oneself to the absolute limit to try and exceed your personal best and beat the rest. For others, it’s simply an entertaining day out, a chance for some team building, morale boosting, lung-bursting fun.  And let’s not forget that there are those who come to do their bit for charity.  Each year, thousands of pounds are raised for charities which are close to the hearts of our riders and we are very grateful for all their contributions. 

So what are you waiting for? We still have limited spaces available, call the team today to book your space: 01225 788880.

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During my recce in Japan, I took some time out to visit Okinawa Island. The island is the centre of the former Ryukyu Kingdom and is the largest and most populous island in the Okinawa Prefecture. Here I found a beautiful, tropical paradise of beaches and jungles, all within easy reach of mainland Japan.  There are plenty of luxury beach resorts to choose from and the seas are home to stunning coral reefs, rich in marine wildlife which meant that I was able to enjoy some fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving.

Tourist attractions include Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium which was at one time the world's largest aquarium, Century Beach, Pineapple Park, the Orion Beer Factory and Hiji Falls. In recent years, the island has become an increasingly popular destination for tourists and it is easy to see why.

Whether you’re looking for an expedition into the jungle, a place to laze on the beach during your time in Japan, or just a simple appreciation of this stunning island, then Okinawa is definitely worth a trip. Included in my Japan package options is a 5 night stay at the idyllic 5 star Busena Terrace Beach Resort and spa. A contemporary island oasis offering complete restoration and relaxation.  The perfect place to unwind amidst the raucous excitement of the tournament!
 
For more information visit https://vultd.co.uk/rugby-hospitality/japan-2019-ground-packages-only

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So Victor always talks about “being there live” and last weekend I got it.
 
Last week, I was invited to come to Rome as part of the VU trip to watch the start of the Six Nations Championships 2018.  I was invited to sample the trip as a punter, I was to experience it “live”
 
It started with the people we met.  Many of us all flew out together and so the memories began.  Everyone with us were just a brilliant bunch – they were sociable, funny, considerate, generous and fun.  Naturally you can make this travel arrangements by oneself, but that would mean missing out on this special part of the trip: meeting these fabulous people.  For me it was my highlight No.1.
 
Highlight No. 2 was the first night.  After a very jolly drinks reception organised by Victor with a surprise visit from former Italy rugby player Marco Bortolami, some 15 of us headed off to have dinner together.  What a special night where we sampled the most unbelievably amazing food.
 
Travel does broaden the mind and feed the soul. Rome does this so well.  Every corner offers a view, something to marvel at and a chance to imagine a different time.  We made the most of our few days, as did everyone else.  Some visited the Vatican, others the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the walking tours, others opted to watch the other games in the hotel and we came together to share our day and experiences in the evening.
 
Sunday saw us come together again to watch the match.  On our way to the stadium we somehow got together with England coach and even enjoy a police escort for part of the way!  Lee Mears gave an hilarious running commentary all the way there.  It’s a brilliant stadium: the food, the beers, the atmosphere were all fantastic and combined with an England win – another marvellous highlight.
 
I was sad to have the weekend come to an end.  We all got on the bus slightly tired and still slightly drunk on all good things the past few days had given us.
 
“Being there Live” means creating memories.  Thank you Victor….. I totally get it now.

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On Wednesday evening at 6.30pm, the doors of the Great Room at Grosvenor House flew open to welcome guests and friends of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and quite a lot of rugby players.  It was the start of the 23rd Six Nations Rugby Championship Dinner and honour to top points scoring rugby champion, Charlie Hodgson.
 
The gold and glitter sparkled as celebrity guests including Amber Davies, Alex Bowen, Olivia Buckland and Sam Thompson made their way to the champagne reception along with a golden list of past and present rugby greats. Danny Care, Chris Robshaw, Andy Gomarsall, Martin Offiah, Ugo Monye and Brad Barritt were amongst some 70 players who pitched up to support Charlie.
 
David Flatman our host took to the stage of gold stars to thank our sponsors O2, Deezer and Crabbies and kick off the fun.  There were games, there was fine food, there was wine and there was so much noise and laughter in the room.
 
After dinner ‘Flats’ asked Charlie Hodgson, Richard Wigglesworth, Brian Redpath, Danny Care and Schalk Brits (he of the incredible golden smile!) to join him on stage.  This was part of the evening where Charlie’s old colleagues could mercilessly make fun of him and share some awful and embarrassing truths of Charlie’s career.  Instead of finding dirt, they just found nuggets of gold……Charlie really is just the nicest, most well-respected guy!
 
The absolutely tremendous Irish band Academic led the musical entertainment with a brilliant performance.  Thanks so much for flying over to be with us!
 
The generosity of all our guests on Wednesday night will fund music therapy for so many people this coming year.  To all our guests – your gifts will transform lives.
 
And so, the night drew to a close on a high as Tony Hadley and band performed.  He sang from the heart, belted out some true favourites, spoke about Nordoff and what did he end the night on? – yes, it was GOLD!

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As we enter into the final stages of planning for the Nordoff Robbins Six Nations Dinner, I am reflecting again on the history of this dinner, why I got involved and why I am as passionate about this charity as I ever was.
 
The idea for the dinner came some 22 years ago when I met Willie Robertson, who at the time was Vice Chair of the charity.  We wanted to raise money and awareness for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and pay tribute to a rugby player.  At the time, I was also playing rugby for Bath and England.  Over the years, we have honoured so many true rugby legends including Jason Leonard, Richard Hill, Lawrence Dallaglio and Chris Robshaw.  It has been a privilege to honour these players.
 
Fundraising for Nordoff Robbins remains one of my main goals both personally and through my business at VU Ltd.  I have worked with and fundraised for so many charities over the years, but this is the only charity that I work with every year.  I think it is because of the people.  The people at Nordoff are so friendly, so committed, so professional and I consider many of them my friends. 
 
I visited the Nordoff Robbins Music Centre a few years ago and watched a session with children.  One cannot help be moved by witnessing their extraordinary work.  It is very real and the difference they make is remarkable.  The therapy brings joy, calm, development and progress for the children and genuine support for the parents. 
 
I was not blessed with the gift and ability to play music. I did dabble in the saxophone until my teacher asked me to stop!  But it has not stopped my appreciation and love for this art.  Music really does touch the soul.
 
I feel that through this dinner and through my other fundraising endeavours such as the Truants Bike Ride, we can make a tangible difference.  Please join me.

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OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALIST JAZZ CARLIN TO ATTEND UK CYCLOTHON 2016
 
Double Silver Olympic medallist Jazz Carlin announced today that she will attend the annual Cyclothon UK, taking place on Thursday 8th September 2016 at Brands Hatch, Kent.

Cyclothon UK, is a 12 hour team endurance cycling race at Brands Hatch circuit where teams race, testing their stamina and also raising money for their chosen charities. The event also challenges former rugby internationals to test their fitness against rival nations for the coveted Home Nations Challenge Trophy. Victor Ubogu, organiser of the event, will also be joined by former rugby colleagues including Lee Mears and Shaun Perry.

“We are delighted to welcome Jazz Carlin to this year’s event.  We were cheering her on in Rio and are so pleased for her and her incredible success.  It is very good of her to take time out of her extremely busy schedule to cheer on the cyclists and support their sporting endeavours” Victor Ubogu said.

Cyclothon UK was launched in 2011 by sports tours and corporate hospitality company VU Limited.  To date it has raised over £250,000.  It is a rare opportunity to cycle on the legendary Grand Prix circuit, hosts of the London 2012 Paralympic cycling.

For more details visit www.vultd.co.uk

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After weeks of speculation, Eddie Jones and his new coaching team have put us all out of our misery and announced the 33 man squad for the forthcoming 6 Nations tournament. With so many new faces joining the squad and some being brought back into the fold, it'll be interesting to see if this will change England's fortunes, let's be honest, after the RWC it can't really get any worse – can it?

Forwards
Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks) 
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Jack Clifford (Harlequins) 
Jamie George (Saracens) 
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) 
James Haskell (Wasps)
Paul Hill (Northampton Saints)  
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) *injury replacement for Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)  
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins) 
Matt Mullan (Wasps) 
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 
Mako Vunipola (Saracens) 

Backs
Chris Ashton (Saracens) 
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 
Danny Care (Harlequins) 
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) 
Owen Farrell (Saracens) 
George Ford (Bath Rugby) 
Alex Goode (Saracens) 
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs) *injury replacement for Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) 
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Marland Yarde (Harlequins) 
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) 

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At a time of festive cheer and giving, VU Limited are thrilled to announce that Victor Ubogu has achieved the '1 in 5' goal he set himself in 2011 – no, not just achieved it, but smashed his quest to raise £1,000,000 over 5 years through various fundraising efforts.

A staggering £1.2 million has been raised and donated to a variety of amazing causes, mainly assisting young people through times of suffering and ill health. Nordoff Robbins, Teenage Cancer Trust, Childline, Afrikids, Walking with the Wounded, Wooden Spoon, Sparks, Abigail's Footsteps, Prince's Trust, Barnardo's and the RFU's Injured Players Foundation are among those who've benefitted from VU Ltd's fundraising dinners and events and Victor's personal sweat and tears as he cycles hundreds of miles in far flung places.

We are deeply conscious that this money could not have been raised without the support of our kind and generous friends and guests. We know you dig deep time and time again, in addition to your endless contributions outside of VU. Your offers of prizes, bids in the auction, hours of standing with your hands on your head or tail, and direct donations form this gift we hope to continue to give. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Although the goal has been achieved, this does in no way mean the game is over. VU Limited pledges to continue the effort as long and as diligently as we can. On January 20th 2016, we host the 21st Nordoff Robbins Rugby Dinner at Grosvenor House where we look forward to raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to help people through the aid of music therapy. We look forward to seeing you there. Meanwhile, we send our best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy Christmas and prosperous 2016, when we hope to continue changing lives together.

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We caught up with Waisale Serevi at our Welcome Dinner in Dubai and also at the tournament. See what Serevi had to say. Waisale Serevi  is a former Fijian rugby player, and coach. Although he played fifteen-a-side rugby throughout his playing career, Serevi is most notable for his achievements in rugby sevens. He is widely considered one of the greatest rugby sevens players ever. In the 15-man game, he played for Fiji 39 times between 1989 and 2003, and scored 376 points. This included representing Fiji in the 1991, 1999, and 2003 Rugby World Cups. His representative sevens career started in 1989 when he played for Fiji at the Hong Kong tournament. With the exception of 2001, 2003 and 2004 he has played at Hong Kong every year since. Serevi has also played in the 1993, 1997, 2001, and 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens, winning the World Cup with Fiji in 1997 and 2005.

Who do you think will win the Dubai 7s?
It’s always difficult to predict who wins in 7’s. South Africa are out and they were one of the favourites. USA are playing well, Fiji are doing well when the playing gets tough they put on the pressure.
 
Who do you think will score the most tries?
I think Fiji will.
 
Who will be the stand out player of this tournament?
Tom Mitchell is playing well. Also Jerry Tuwai and Pio Tuwai from Fiji
 
What’s you’re most memorable moment in 7’s history?
Playing and winning the World Cup 7’s in 1997 and 2005 with Fiji.
 
What did you care about most when you were ten years old?
I cared about trying to get home from school quickly so I could go to rugby.
 

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A distressed England are out of the World Cup, the vultures in the press are on attack and the RFU are starting an inquest about where it all went wrong. Lancaster’s job is on the line, Robshaw’s captaincy is questioned, and of course we can’t have an angry conversation about rugby without throwing the Great Sam Burgess Debate in there too. Let’s be honest, no one really expected England’s World Cup to be over just two and a half weeks after the tournament began. However, it wasn’t a dream. England are out and they will retreat and rebuild.
 
Meanwhile, remember the build-up…ENGLAND IS HOSTING THE RUGBY WORLD CUP! We are still in the midst of a huge rugby party and we must continue to be generous and gracious hosts. Twickenham has never sounded so passionate, smaller stadiums are rocking and the talent on show has produced some of the classiest and most exciting games of rugby we’ve ever witnessed. This international tournament celebrates the game we love and we must stay on board. At the VU Dinners, we’ve heard fantastic stories from the likes of Springbok Chester Williams, Irish prop Paul Wallace, French legend Serge Betsen and the All Blacks’ Smokin’ Joe Stanley. During these evenings, it doesn’t matter where we’re from; we join together and support rugby. Only 3 more opportunities remain to join us at one of these very special and glamorous occasions in London – 16th, 23rd, 30th October – so forget the action on the pitch – revive your passion by remembering rugby memories past.
 
This week, Twickenham Stadium welcomes two rivals who usually only travel to this part of South West London with hopes of smashing England. On Saturday, the old enemy isn’t even there but Wales and Australia will fight it out to take the top spot in their pool. Whoever wins Saturday could very well be in the Final on 31st October. These matches matter.
 
VU continue to support the Home Nations and hope you will join us to cheer on Wales, Scotland and Ireland in the Quarter Finals. We have ticket packages for Twickenham and an amazing opportunity to travel in style to Millennium Stadium on our privately chartered Orient Express on 17th and 18th October. There’s a lot of excellent rugby ahead, so don’t miss out. Who knows when we’ll next see RWC on our shores again?! Contact the VU office for remaining availability on 01225 788880. But please forgive us if we sound a little tired – we have some wounds to lick…
 

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No surprises as the press have been leaking this all week but here's the England team to face Wales this weekend. Thoughts?

15. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 40 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
13. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 24 caps)
12. Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 17 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 32 caps) 
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 50 caps)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 34 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 25 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)
4. Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps)
5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 41 caps)
6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 39 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins, 40 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 20 caps)

Replacements

16. Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 24 caps)
18. Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 13 caps)
19. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 25 caps)
20. James Haskell (Wasps, 60 caps)
21. Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 24 caps)
22. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
23. Alex Goode (Saracens, 18 caps) 

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OMG it's finally here. Rugby World Cup 2015 is about to kick off and England have named their glorious team to face a rather threatening Fiji side on Friday.

15. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 39 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 11 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 23 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps)
10. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 49 caps)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 33 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 24 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)
4. Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 25 caps)
5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 40 caps)
6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 38 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins, 39 caps)
8. Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 29 caps)

Replacements

16. Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 23 caps)
18. Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 12 caps)
19. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 24 caps)
20. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 19 caps)
21. Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 23 caps)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 31 caps)
23. Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, 2 caps) 

If you haven't sorted out your plans yet, it's not too late….but it will be soon! Check out our RWC pages for remaining packages here

 

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So here it is. As we get closer to Rugby World Cup 2015, is this the England team we rest our hopes on? A strong Wales side beat Ireland and England were shaky aginst France last week.

England take on Ireland at home on Saturday. This looks good. Are you happy with this selection?

15. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 38 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 22 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 15 caps)
10. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 48 caps)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 32 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)
4. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 39 caps)
5. Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 24 caps)
6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 37 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins, 38 caps)
8. Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 28 caps)

Replacements

16. Jamie George (Saracens, 1 cap)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 22 caps)
18. Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 11 caps)
19. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 23 caps)
20. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 18 caps)
21. Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 22 caps)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 30 caps)
23. Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)

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Colin Charvis is a former captain of the Welsh rugby union team and also played for the British & Irish Lions. A back row forward, Colin was equally adept as a flanker or as the No. 8. Colin became the world record try scorer for a forward in test match rugby on 24 November 2007 v South Africa at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff with his 22nd international try.

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
Now I am retired I can have my feet up all day and relax
 
If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
Austin Healy – trust me you would know why after being on deserted island!!!
 
Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
Cape Town – its an fabulous place
 
When you were young did you have a role model if so who was it?
I grew up playing soccer so my idol would be Gordon Cowans and Peter Withe
 
Earliest Rugby memory?
First time I went to a rugby training sessions at school and it was freezing. I was standing there with my nobbly knees in kit that that didn’t fit that I had to grow into and everyone that had played before pretty much beat me up for the next hour.
 
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
About 20 years ago it would have been Hugh Hefner. But nowadays I am very content with who I am. 
 

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This is it! Preparation for Rugby World Cup starts here! 

England XV: Alex Goode, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Sam Burgess, Jonny May; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Rob Webber, Kieran Brookes, George Kruis, Geoff Parling, Tom Wood, Calum Clark, Ben Morgan

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alex Corbisiero, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, James Haskell, Danny Care, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees

 

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Geoff Parling has appeared for England U16, U18, U19 and U21. At the age of 26, he played 30 matches, including his 80-minute contribution when Leicester Tigers beat Saracens 33-27 in the Premiership final of 2009-10, his debut season at Welford Road. He was the leading line-out ball winner with five takes in the next match against France and the joint top tackler, with 17, alongside Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood against Wales in the final game of the 2013 tournament. His initial start had been on his third appearance, against Wales at Twickenham in 2012 and he shared in the 24-22 win over France at Stade de France, Paris and the 30-9 triumph in the Ireland game.

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
Trim and shape my beard.

If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
Would have to say Lee Mears, he would not stop talking and on a desert Island I would just want to chill.

Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
Australia

Most memorable match you have played in?
3rd test Match in Australia Lions 2013

Who do you think will win the 2014 Heineken Cup?
Leicester

Earliest Rugby memory?
Played rugby for school when I was about 11 against my Dads school and we won 5-0 I scored the try.

What’s is your favorite meal?
Just lots of food in general

Do you have a dream car if so what is it?
This may sound odd but, my first car was a rover 214 in a nice mahogany color with a hole in the side could open the door from the outside. Was the only car in a house full of lads I would just want it back for old times’ sake and a weekend car.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
I just want to be me

Worst injury?
ACL 

What is your best joke?
This was too rude to publish!!!!
 

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VU Ltd are hosting several Rugby Legend dinners throughout RWC2015 – a chance to get up close and personal with Legends from many of the major represented nations, who've experienced Rugby World Cups since the very beginning. You know our style – fine food, splendid venues, great champagne, plentiful quality wine and a convivial atmosphere through the night to suit any rugby fan or those looking to entertain important clients and customers.

As the rugby continues, each weekend will offer a different outlook on the tournament so far and also what's to follow. But there's none i'm looking forward to as much as our very special night on Friday 16th October – eve of the Quarter Finals at the beautiful Corinthia Hotel, London.

You can just imagine…it's the eve of the RWC Quarter Finals, only 8 teams are left and surely the story of the week is going to be 'What Happened in Pool A?' Who rose above the biggest and most unpredictable challenge of all, and advanced from the Pool of Death?

On this very special night, we bring together representatives of the 3 most talked about teams of Rugby World Cup 2015. All the anxiety and battle of the Pools will have been settled as Rugby Legends Shane Williams (Wales), David Campese (Australia) and Rory Underwood (England) take the stage. All three teams were worthy contenders to advance to the Quarter Finals, but only two nations will succeed. Who will be joyful about the weekend's fixtures, and which team will have been left behind to wonder where it all went wrong?

Joining them, from a much more comfortable position will be RWC 1995 winning winger Chester Williams, who's Springboks will most likely be facing the runner up of Pool A at Twickenham the following day.

David, Shane and Rory all feature in the greatly respected Top Ten list of Highest International try scorers ever, so they know a thing or two about how big matches are won. No doubt Victor and the pack will argue 'it's all decided upfront!' so expect a lively and passionate debate and a night of expertly misguided rugby punditry!

Not to be overshadowed, our regular band of RWC Rugby brothers will join Victor Ubogu to give their insight on the tournament so far – Serge Betsen (France), Mark Ella (Australia), Joe Stanley (new Zealand), Craig Chalmers (Scotland), Scott Hastings (Scotland), Lee Mears (England) and Paul Wallace (Ireland) will be on hand for photographs and chatter.

If you're going to choose just one evening of RWC entertainment off the pitch, choose our Dinner with the Wingers for a night to remember!

https://vultd.co.uk/sporting-dinners/rwc-2015-rugby-legends-dinners-london

 

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VU Limited, the luxury sports hospitality and travel company founded by former England Rugby prop Victor Ubogu have joined together with classic London sports bar Temple Walkabout to bring you an insider’s glimpse of the most anticipated Pool weekend of Rugby World Cup 2015.

Two of the world’s greatest Rugby Wingers, Shane Williams (Wales) and David Campese (Australia) will share their predictions on the titanic RWC2015 Wales v Australia clash before the live screening of New Zealand v Tonga on Friday October 9th, 2015.

The two rugby greats are from opposite sides of the world and heroes in their home nations, Campese playing entirely in the amateur era and Williams enjoying the dawn of professional Rugby in Wales, but these two are more similar than one might think. Holding the 2nd and 3rd positions of leading rugby international try scorers, a long list of trophies and accolades, and playing during their respective countries’ arguably greatest decades, it is a special occurrence to have both legends share the stage.

In their own unique styles, David and Shane will offer their thoughts on what could be the most crucial deciding game of Pool A, taking place at Twickenham on Saturday 10th October – and open the floor to questions from the audience. Irish prop forward and TV pundit Paul Wallace will emcee the evening and is likely to share some tall tour stories of his own.
 
VU Limited are an official sub-agent for Rugby World Cup 2015 and offer ticket inclusive packages for all matches but this event is a deviation from their usual style of luxury hospitality. Victor Ubogu said about the event, “It’s great to find the perfect reason to return to my old haunt in Temple, where I used to own Shoeless Joe’s. Shane and Campo are absolute rugby greats so there are no better two pundits to offer some inside scoop on how Wales and Australia might feel before this very important match. Prepare for an evening of great banter, convivial atmosphere and superb rugby!”
 
Tickets cost £35+vat. Advance booking is necessary for this event and your ticket includes a free burger and pint of lager, exclusive access to the Q&A and screening of New Zealand v Tonga. To book, visit the VU Ltd website at www.vultd.co.uk or call 01225 788880.
 
Shane Williams
Rugby World Cups: 2003, 2007, 2011
Age: 38
International Tests: 91
International Tries: 60
IRB Player of the Year 2008
 
David Campese
Age: 52
Rugby World Cups: 1987, 1991, 1995
International Tests: 101
International Tries: 64
IRB Hall of Fame inductee
 

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Peter Rogers is a former Wales international rugby union player.  Peter attained 18 caps for Wales between 1999 and 2000. He played club rugby for Gauteng Falcons, Bridgend RFC, Maesteg RFC, Pirates Johannesburg, London Irish, Roma, Newport RFC, Cardiff RFC.

Peter came out of retirement for the 2007-08 season, where he played for the semi-professional Welsh side Bridgend Ravens in the Welsh Principality Premiership.

How did you like to spend time after training and rugby matches? 
 
Eating, lots of it too!!
  
If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
 
Colin Charvis. I think I've heard every single one of his stories
 
Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
 
Buenos Aires
 
Most memorable match you have played in?
 
This wouldn't please Victor but it's Wales v England at Wembley 1999 , although Victor's sprint onto the pitch was impressive as I remember !
 
If you didn’t play rugby what do you think you would have been doing?
 
Astronaut 
 
What’s the best thing about RWC 2015 being in England?
 
We all know where to go after the matches.
 
When you were young did you have a role model if so who was it?
 
Richard Burton 
 
Earliest Rugby memory?

 
Trying to get my Dad to watch me do conversions at the local Rugby field , but they were so awful I understand why he would never want to come thats probably why I ended up in the front row.
 
What’s is your favorite meal?
 
Penne pollo pesto
 
Do you have a dream car if so what is it?
 
Never dreamt of Cars
 
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
 
My missus , just to see what I was really like to live with.
 
Worst injury?
 
Right knee , medial & pcl snapped after Craig Quinnel landed on it while I was getting up from a collapsed scrum.
 
What is your best joke?
 
A loosehead prop said to the tighthead prop that he has to lose 10 kilos of ugly fat. 
Easy one that he said : cut your head off !
 
 

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Mako Vunipola is a England rugby union player. He also plays at Prop for Saracens. 

See what Mako when we caught up with him earlier this year.

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
I like a lot of sleep and spending time with my family
 
If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
Chris Ashton he would be no help, wouldn’t offer anything apart from rubbish chat.
 
Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
Sydney Australia
 
Most memorable match you have played in?
Lions 2013 last test match

When you were young did you have a roll model if so who was it?
Jonah Lomu
 
Earliest Rugby memory?
Drop Kicking from the half way line at 6 years old.
 
What’s is your favorite meal?
Fish and chips
 
Do you have a dream car if so what is it?
A hummer would be so cool cruising around in that.
 
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
Marland Yarde love is hair he looks like Sanka from Cool Runnings
 
Worst injury?
Broke my foot when I was 3 months old.
 
What is your best joke?
Why did the one arm man cross the road?? To get to the 2nd hand shop. 

 

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Sam Burgess is an English professional rugby union player for Bath Rugby. He previously played rugby league as a Great Britain and England international representative forward and in the South Sydney Rabbitohs of the National Rugby League and in Super League for English club Bradford Bulls. He has recently been selected for the England Rugby World Cup 2015 training squad. See what he had to say when we caught up with him a few months back.

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
I like to go for a coffee down town with a few of the boys. Also like to go to Bath Spa to do a bit of recovery. Like to keep it pretty simple.

If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
I think it would have to be George Ford as he has such bad OCD.

Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
I must say Sydney as I spent so much time there.

Most memorable match you have played in?
Of course the Grand Final 2014

If you didn’t play rugby what do you think you would have been doing?
I always thought I would be doing something in sport, a PE teacher most likely.

What’s the best thing about RWC 2015 being in England?
Home support and passionate fans.

Earliest Rugby memory?
Getting tackled into a wet, cold, muddy puddle when I was 5.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
I would love to just step into the shoes of Mike Tyson for one day. Defiantly not a week just a few hours every now and then.

Worst injury?
It has to be my face in the Grand Final. I fractured my cheekbone and eye socket.

What is your best joke?
Ummmmm did I tell you the one about Alzheimer’s…..Ahhhhh I’ve forgotten it.
 

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With England Rugby starting training camp this week, all eyes will be on news from Pennyhill Park where Lancaster and his team will be putting the boys through their paces. Lock Dave Attwood wil be looking to secure his place in the RWC2015 squad. Last year, during the successful Autumn Internationals, he stopped into the Clubhouse (complete with attractively bandaged bonce) for a quick chat.

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
I like to have down time so maybe a quite drink with the lads and spend time with my family.

If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
Jonny May – he would be absolutely useless. Also he has no functional skills!!

Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
I loved going up to Edinburgh.

What’s the best thing about RWC 2015 being in England?
Just the support there is a proper buzz everywhere at the moment.

Earliest Rugby memory?
Getting sent off for the first time in a junior game for slide tackling.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
I would love to be Odin such a powerful God

Worst injury?
Tore the cartilage in my knee

 

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To find out how to follow Wales to RWC2015, click here for inspiration…

Hymns and Arias

We paid our weekly shilling for that January trip:
A long weekend in London, aye, without a bit of kip.
There's a seat reserved for beer by the boys from Abercarn:
There's beer, pontoon, crisps and fags and a croakin' Calon Lan.

 And we were singing hymns and arias,
'Land of my Fathers', 'Ar hyd y nos'.

Into 'Padders' we did roll with an empty crate of ale.
Will had lost at cards and now his Western Mail's for sale.
But Will is very happy though his money all has gone:
He swapped five photos of his wife for one of Barry John.

And we were singing hymns and arias,
'Land of my Fathers', 'Ar hyd y nos'.

We got to Twickers early and were jostled in the crowd;
Planted leeks and dragons, looked for toilets all around.
So many there we couldn't budge – twisted legs and pale:
So we had to use a bottle that once held bitter ale.

And we were singing hymns and arias,
'Land of my Fathers', 'Ar hyd y nos'.

Wales defeated England in a fast and open game.
We sang 'Cwm Rhondda' and 'Delilah',
damn they sounded both the same.

We sympathised with an Englishman whose team was doomed to fail.
So we gave his that old bottle, that once held bitter ale!

He started singing hymns and arias,
'Land of my Fathers', 'Ar hyd y nos'.

So it's down to Soho for the night,
to the girls with the shiny beads;
To the funny men with lipstick on, with evil minds and deeds.

One said to Will from a doorway dark,
damn she didn't have much on.
But Will knew what she wanted, aye… his photo of Barry John!

'Cos she was singing hymns and arias,
'Land of my Fathers', 'Ar hyd y nos'.

All credit to the Tour Leader of them all, the legendary Max Boyce.

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Just because Rugby World Cup 2015 is taking place in merry old England, it doesn't mean you can't create havoc at home, on a proper old school rugby tour!

Do you have the stamina, bravery and spirit to keep up with Victor Ubogu on a 3 day mini mega tour, taking in three exhilarating and crucial matches of the RWC2015 pool stages? If you think you're tough enough, we might just have the trip for you!

Hit up two super cities in the North – Newcastle on Friday and Manchester on Saturday, then return to London to close the weekend in style with travel to Cardiff on the gloriously indulgent and relaxing Belmond Northern Belle – VU's privately chartered train. There, your fuzzy reflections of evenings past will melt away as you sink into an upholstered armchair and soak up the finest UK train travel service and experience that money can buy. One does need a little comfort and luxury when one tours nowadays…

You'll enjoy three vitally important matches in three awesome stadiums, and be hosted by only the toughest tour heavy-weights in the rugby world.

New Zealand v Tonga St James' Park
England v Uruguay, Manchester City Stadium
France v Ireland, Millennium Stadium

So, are you man enough? If you think you've got the gumption, sign up here to Le Grand Tour and get ready to enjoy the ride!
 

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Katy McLean is currently captain of England Women and captained them to victory against Canada in the 2014 France Rugby World Cup. She plays as a fly-half for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks. Katy received an MBE in the 2014 New Year Honours. Katy works professionally as a schoolteacher

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
I love putting my feet up and watching House of Cards. Occasionally when I am back up north I like to surf.

If you were stranded on a desert island who would be the worst team mate past or present to be with and why?
Oh wow… Probably Maggie Alphonsi because her banter is shocking!

Most memorable match you have played in?
Of course it has to be the Rugby World Cup Final

What’s the best thing about RWC 2015 being in England?
Everyone has access to it with it being around the whole country

When you were young did you have a role model if so who was it?
Always has to be Johnny Wilkinson

Earliest Rugby memory?
Watching my Dad get sent off the pitch when I was about 4

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
I would love to be the Queen to see what she actually does.

Worst injury?
Partially dislocated my shoulder

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Serge Betsen will be joining VU onboard the glorious Orient Express to the all-important RWC Pool D decider between France v Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. Join him on October 11th for more fun and rugby stories. Click here to find out more and book your match ticket-inclusive package for Rugby World Cup 2015: France v Ireland

Betsen made his first appearance for France in 1997 and later made 67 appearances for his country. Serge is one of our Rugby Legends for the Rugby World Cup 2015. See what Serge said when we met up a few months ago. 

How do you like to spend time after training and rugby matches?
I like being with my family, my kids, my wife. Also being with people who support my charity “Serge Betson Academy”
 
Best city you have toured and played rugby in?
I didn’t have a lot of tours because in France we didn’t really do that much. But I believe Australia with Bondi Beach was one of the great memories.
 
If you didn’t play rugby what do you think you would have been doing?
I believe I would be doing something around humanitarian, helping people and doing things for others.
 
Earliest Rugby memory?
One of my great memories in rugby was my first training session a girl teaching me how to tackle. I thought rugby was fun like this all the time but the dream was false.
 
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
Tim Payne because he is one of the greatest people who will always always always be complaining.
 
Worst injury?
This brings back bad memories. I have broken my cheek.  
 

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We haven't been this excited about Aviva Premiership Final for a long time! Saracens became only the fifth away side to win a Premiership Semi Final and must be feeling massively proud about their narrow 24-29 win against Saints. Bath Rugby on the other hand, went one further and SMASHED Leicester Tigers 47-10 with non-stop tries, a raucous afternoon at the Rec and a glimpse back to the glory days of Bath's winning years.

With a line-up of backs that basically IS England's international side, confidence has returned to Bath Rugby. At the VU office, I'm taking the liberty of being unregulated by the national media and being completely biased by saying we're rooting for Bath all the way! With one ex-Bath player, one @BathBird10, one son-of-a-Bath-legend, one former Bath player WAG, how can we not be?! And even this Welsh girl and the Shed-Head in the office are cheering on Blue, Black & White this weekend!! We want to see Banahan run out and look as gargantuan in Twickenham as he does at the Rec, we count on Joseph flying up the centre and Roko power charging through anything in his path. And it goes without saying Ford will out-kick his old mate Owen Farrell and cement his place as 1st choice No 10 for RWC.

The VU Clubhouse will be open next Saturday. Former front row boys Victor Ubogu and Lee Mears will be there to defend me (I hope) and entertain you all with tales of Bath and England days and also offering a warm welcome to Sarcens fans too. Victor's house is a fantastic all-welcoming all-inclusive environment to warm up for the game and we genuinely invite all supporters to be there in red and black (or whatever colour Saracens are trying to sell kits in this year) or #BB&W for the ultimate day of Premiership Rugby.
 
Inclusions:
 
•        Champagne & Canapes on arrival
•        Complimentary bar pre & post-match
•        Barbecue
•        Souvenir match programme
•        Ref-Link
•        Post-match hot savouries
•        Signed photo of you and your guests with Lee & I
 
Cost: £167+vat
 
Top priced Ticket at an additional face value cost of £82, if required.

Places are limited so contact VU now on 01225 788880 to book your spot!

Honestly, ALL fans welcome – Sarries, Bath or anyone who just loves a good ruck, maul and tackle. And if you think i'm wrong, feel free to disagree. Comments moderated by me, so reply and post away; we'd love to hear from you!

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It still seems like an age away but the start of RWC2015 is only 4 months!!  Stuart Lancaster announced his band of trusted soldiers to lead England to World Cup glory and the training squad will be in serious preparation mode at Pennyhill Park through the summer. Lancaster has until August 31 to select his 31-man World Cup party ahead of the home tournament opener against Fiji on September 18 at Twickenham, so the boys below will be keen to be at their best and reveal their true strengths this summer!

The QBE Summer Internationals will be seen as major last chance auditions for the RWC squad, so be at Twickenham on August 15th (England v France) and September 5th (England v Ireland) to be in the best position to predict your winners and losers! The VU Clubhouse will be open for fun in the sun, quality hospitality and real rugby chatter so book your place here to join us!

Good Luck England! #CarryThemHome

Full England training squad: Chris Ashton (Saracens), Dave Attwood (Bath), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Sam Burgess (Bath), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Anthony Watson (Bath), Rob Webber (Bath), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Tom Youngs (Leicester).