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Two of Wales major global sporting events – the 2015 Rugby World Cup and Wales Rally GB joined forces for a special power show at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay today (Tuesday 11 August) with rugby stars and Wales’ top rallying talent backing each other during three months of high impact sport hosted in Wales.

  • Wales Rally GB and Rugby World Cup squad join forces to celebrate two major sporting events
  • Wales’ world-class rally driver Elfyn Evans teams up with Sam Warburton’s squad in North Wales at open training session
  • Capacity crowd of thousands flocks to Parc Eirias to watch Warren Gatland’s Rugby World Cup training squad being put through their paces in Colwyn Bay
  • £327m boost to Wales’ economy from two global sports events (Sept – Nov 2015)
  • Celebration of global sport spotlight on back of new 3-year agreement for Wales Rally GB with principal funder Welsh Government

 As part of its final preparations for rugby’s forthcoming showpiece tournament (18 September – 31 October), the Welsh training squad were put through their paces at an open training session in North Wales just days after their first warm-up match against Ireland in Cardiff at the weekend.

And a trio of Wales’ top motor sport talent Elfyn Evans, Osian Pryce and Tom Cave (see biogs below) took time out of their busy preparations to wish the Wales squad the best of luck in their Rugby World Cup campaign.

After training players from Wales’ rugby squad hooked up with 26-year old Dolgellau-born Rally star Elfyn Evans with his M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC car to hear more about how Evans will make his mark in the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.

Two of Wales major global sporting events – the 2015 Rugby World Cup and Wales Rally GB joined forces for a special power show at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay today (Tuesday 11 August) with rugby stars and Wales’ top rallying talent backing each other during three months of high impact sport hosted in Wales.

Mark Davies, Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales which works in partnership with Wales Rally GB said: “The economic importance of sport in Wales is considerable and we have the chance to celebrate the impact and value to local communities in Wales that two flagship world-class events will bring our country within a month of each other. As a nation of 3 million people we punch above our weight in success in World sports.

“Sport-related economic activity adds around £897m to the Welsh economy, with employment in the sector growing. Major sports events that showcase world-class sports men and women and inspire new generations to participate and enjoy the social and health benefits of sport. We’ll see our rugby stars alongside one of World Rally’s most exciting young stars Elfyn Evans and it reminds of the benefits of working in partnership and the huge strides we’re making as a proud sporting nation that continues to work hard to develop and support up and coming talent.”

North Wales’ rugby and motor sport celebration at Parc Eirias comes hot on the heels of a recent announcement that a new agreement has been reached between International Motor Sports (IMS) ltd and principal funding partner Welsh Government which will see the Wales Rally GB retained for another three years making it one of the longest running title affiliations in British Sport http://www.walesrallygb.com/news .

Elfyn Evans, born and bred in Wales said rugby is the only sport he follows outside his hectic schedule in motor sport: “It’s been great to see the national squad train up in North Wales in front of a packed crowd, there’s always a warm welcome here at Parc Eirias which hosted the opening ceremony of the Wales Rally GB last year.

“I’d like to wish all the boys good luck for the Rugby World Cup, which is such a big event for everyone involved in rugby in Wales. Coming from mid-Wales, there’s no escaping rugby and it’s the only sport outside of motor sport that I actually follow. Now to have these two fantastic world sports events in Wales back to back later this year is just fantastic.”

Wales captain Sam Warburton said it had been a positive trip to North Wales with a great reception at Parc Eirias; “It’s great for the spectators that live in Wales to have world-class events that put Wales on the map. To have so many Welsh sportsmen competing at the top level of world sport is good for Welsh sport as a whole.

“A lot of the boys are petrol heads and love the adrenaline sports so it’s great for us to mix. To be up here in North Wales is something completely different to what we’ve done before. The supporters have turned up in massive numbers and it’s been quite overwhelming really.”

Wales and Scarlets centre Scott Williams said after the open training session: “That was a really good rugby session here at Parc Eirias – the last couple of weeks has been more on conditioning so it’s nice to get the ball in hand a get a bit of contact back into it. Today has been a great, when I was a kid growing up around Rallying it’s something I’ve always loved and to see the Rally drivers supporting us here is fantastic. It’s good to see so many people turn up and it’s been a great day for us as players.

“The Rally is really important to Wales – it’s great it’s been secured for another three years in Wales because it has such a big fanbase,” said Williams.

Ben Taylor Managing Director of Wales’ Rally GB said: “Rugby and rallying are two of the most popular sports in Wales and by showcasing these two major events we celebrate the economic value, business, tourism and commercial benefits that global sport brings to Wales. We are delighted to have agreed another new deal with Welsh Government whose support has been critical to the success of Wales Rally GB and it’s great news for motor sport sector in Wales and the UK.”

Welsh Government Minister comment here: Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: “I was delighted to welcome the Wales Rugby World Cup training team to North Wales yesterday. These two major events will mean that the world’s eyes are on Wales yet again and provide a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile Wales, our sporting greatness and capability of hosting world-class events. As one of our highest profile events we are pleased to have extended our support for the Wales Rally GB and look forward to this year’s event. Our events and attractions will play a part in positioning Wales as a leading destination for adventure during The Year of Adventure 2016.”

Wales Rally GB is the highlight of the UK rallying calendar and is renowned around the globe as one of the most famous and challenging in the WRC. It’s one of only two events that have remained a permanent fixture since the WRC’s inception in 1973 and the timed competitive special stages set in the legendary Welsh forests are acclaimed as some of the world’s finest.