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Volunteering at the England Rugby World Cup 2015

Bigwave’s very own Erika Smith volunteered at the Rugby World Cup 2015, she details her intriguing experience below:

My England 2015 Rugby World Cup journey began almost 18 months ago when I registered my interest as a volunteer. I was 1 of 20,000 applicants nationally who applied; 10,000 of which were interviewed and 6,000 were accepted for a position as ‘Part of The Pack’.

The Pack training began with a visit to Milton Keynes for a team building session in May, followed with online modules, individual Functional Area in Bristol training and Home Turf training in Exeter.

My role was in the 350 strong Accreditation Team was to assist with the distribution of 50,000 RWC 2015 accreditation passes to everyone that needed to attend any of the 13 venues across 11 cities who wasn’t a tournament guest or spectator. This meant dealing with many different people from client groups, players, broadcasters and press to caters, contractors and the Pack workforce.

My interest in rugby has developed intensely over the past 6-7 years. I have gone from watching my first game on TV in 2008, to playing rugby myself for a local league in England and later in Australia. I have also managed to squeeze in going to multiple England International matches and 7s tournaments, whilst gaining my IRB Level 1 Rugby Union Coach qualification. I enjoy the camaraderie (anyone associated with the game or any member club will understand this) and clubs I had been members of and wanted to give something back. I decided that I wanted to be involved in the next Rugby World Cup in some way when watching the Women’s RWC tournament hosted by England in 2010.

As a ‘big team player’ I knew I would enjoy volunteering. I hadn’t been part of the London Olympics 2012 or the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 but I have friends who were ‘Games Makers’ who had told me about their experiences and I wanted to do something similar. When I heard England were hosting RWC 2015 I realised this was the perfect ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for me – I even changed my ‘5 year plan’ for this tournament.

I volunteered at Sandy Park, Exeter for 7 days in the Accreditation Team with a team of 15 (5 for each shift) from all different backgrounds and have met number of big name ex-players of the game, media and even Royalty. However for me it was all about being a part of an event that could expand international interest of rugby for future generations. I was offered the opportunity to volunteer at Twickenham Stadium for the RWC final with the Spectator Services! Having thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Sandy Park, of course I said yes!

Volunteering for a large international event has been very rewarding and although rugby has been a key focus for me, the experience has meant sparked an interest in large events and I now considering volunteering for the Cricket World Cup 2019 – and I know nothing about cricket, yet!

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