Alex Matchett gets predictions and thoughts on business from the stars ahead of tomorrow’s tournament
As the capital gears up for the kick-off of the Rugby World Cup this Friday, London’s businesses have been acting accordingly: handing out sponsored stash, throwing parties, wheeling out former stars and generally seizing the opportunity to mix the pleasure of hosting the world’s third biggest sporting event with their business designs.
Spear’s was fortunate enough to attend two such shindigs, the former at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, where William Grant & Sons hosted ‘The Legends Ball’ to celebrate becoming the official spirits and champagne provider to the Rugby World Cup. Legends there certainly were: numerous Olympians and rugby players were complemented by the likes of John Barnes, Alex McLeish and Audley Harrison.
World cup winner Lewis Moody MBE was also there to raise money for his foundation that helps young families coping with a life-threatening illness. Before initiating a resounding charity auction he shared a stage with former England coach Andy Robinson OBE and former player and Dancing on Ice champion Kyran Bracken MBE.
The trio discussed their predictions – listing New Zealand and Australia as potential winners and unanimously agreeing Wales wouldn’t make it out of the Group of Death. Bracken anointed England as the winners, predicting a one-point victory against New Zealand in the final.
A week later, at Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living and again appearing as a rugby legend, Bracken had changed his mind to New Zealand. ‘They [England] can beat anyone but consistently I’m not sure.’ When it came to players, the former scrum-half identified Israel Folau as a potential star of the tournament.
Rugby aside, the World Cup will be a massive and all too rare an opportunity for business to thrive away from more formal and more mundane surroundings. England’s economy can benefit enormously not just from the immediate impact of jobs, spending and sales of beer (which sadly looks like it will be hindered by the non-arrival of the scheduled night tube), but from the deals done and the business created away from the immediate action. Although, of course, one hopes England will win slightly more than just business.