ANTICIPATION for one of the biggest events in sport ramped up a few gears, when the rugby world cup continued its tour of the region.

For more pictures from the tour of the region, click here

The Webb Ellis trophy, which will be contested by 20 countries in September and October, is criss-crossing the country on a 100-day tour ahead of the tournament.

It had arrived in the region last Thursday, which marked 50 days to go until the start of the world cup.

Following a packed weekend schedule with events around Northumberland and Newcastle, the trophy made its way south to County Durham on Monday.

Among its stopping-off points was the Angel of the North, where 2003 world cup winner Jason Leonard and former England Sevens player Ollie Phillips posed with the trophy.

It then visited Durham Cathedral and West Hartlepool RFC, where Mr Leonard, recently confirmed as president of the sport's governing body the RFU, unveiled a 10ft entrance feature at the club's Brinkburn ground.

Then it was back on the road, before arriving at the home of Darlington Mowden Park RFC, which will be a team base for the tournament, hosting reigning world champions New Zealand.

In Darlington, the trophy was greeted by youngsters taking part in Mowden's summer rugby camps, with dozens – including the town's mayor and mayoress – queuing up to have their pictures taken with the cup.

The trophy arrived in the manner usually reserved for VIPs and dignitaries – behind thick glass, in the back of a customised Land Rover Defender.

One of the trophy's seven-strong security detail let slip that electro magnets are used to prevent it from becoming displaced when the vehicle is on the move.

Mike Keeligan, Mowden's chairman, said excitement was building nicely ahead of the World Cup.

He said: "It's great that the world cup is going round the country to expose it to everyone.

"People are always asking me about the All Blacks coming and it is building up nicely.

"The kids from the rugby camp have been looking forward to the trophy arriving, they are over the moon with themselves."

Andy McGreevy, the club's event manager for the trophy's appearance, said it was hoped the All Blacks would allow public training sessions during their stay at The Northern Echo Arena.

After Darlington, the trophy moved on to Barnard Castle, where 12 to 18-year-olds took part in a mixed touch tournament as part of the town's Festival of Rugby.

St James' Park, in Newcastle, will host three matches during the tournament, which starts on September 18.

For more information, visit