Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.
As Vice-Patron of the RFU and Honorary President of England 2015 it's my privilege to stand here on the eve of the 8th Rugby World Cup and welcome you all.
This time tomorrow, I'm excited to say, we will be enjoying the start of six very special weeks of rugby.
We will see the world's best players compete for the Webb Ellis Cup, here, where the game was born, almost 200 years ago.
As a passionate rugby fan, I will share in the rollercoaster of emotions with millions of other fans around the world between now and 31st October.
It is this rollercoaster that makes sport - and especially rugby - so compelling.I have no doubt that all the highs and lows, the drama and tension, will create unforgettable memories.
Over the next six weeks, this competition will reach people from all corners of the globe.
I believe that this World Cup – more than any before – has the potential to grow the game, both at home and abroad, by inspiring children of all backgrounds, and encouraging men and women of all ages and abilities, to embrace rugby.
As you have just seen, the RFU is committed to harnessing the impact of this competition and the power of rugby for social change.
The values of the game, demonstrated so brilliantly by elite players on the global stage, can be mirrored at all levels - both on and off the pitch - to improve lives and strengthen communities.
I know everyone here shares our enthusiasm for this vision and will join us in helping to create a truly positive and inclusive legacy of this World Cup.
I hope you all enjoy the tournament and while you're here, make the most of what this country has to offer.