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Northern Ireland businesses get teeth into Rugby World Cup

Northern Ireland businesses get teeth into Rugby World Cup

DUBLIN: There’s bound to be a scrum for takings over the course of the 44-day extravaganza, which kicks off tomorrow when co-hosts England take on Fiji at Twickenham.

The event has grown into the world’s third largest sporting tournament and is expected to generate almost £2.2bn for the British economy in general.

And with seven Ulster players in the Ireland squad which departed from Dublin Airport last night and will begin their campaign on Saturday against Canada in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, interest is rising to fever pitch.

Rugby fans, traditionally, are big spenders, and with this year’s tournament so close to home, significant business opportunities abound.

Take Ulster Weavers, the Holywood-based home textile and linen company, for instance.

They are an official licensee for the Rugby World Cup (RWC) and recently launched their official kitchen textiles range in time for the tournament.

Five new limited edition collections have been created, consisting of bags, aprons and cotton tea towels.

Some bespoke tea towels feature, for example, English roses, Irish shamrocks, Scottish thistles and Welsh daffodils and prices range from £8.75 to £20.

Commercial director Wendy Hamilton said the firm has made a large investment in the creation and manufacture of the new designs, which they expect will be lucrative.

Working with the RWC has been a great opportunity to expand our business further into different sectors, especially with professional sporting organisations,” she said.

“We are also working with 12 other rugby unions in conjunction with the main event to provide bespoke tea towels based on national symbols and emblems.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to export Northern Irish goods around the globe and introduce new audiences to quality textiles for the home.”

Colin Neill from Hospitality Ulster said the RWC was really important to his industry.

“Things like the Rugby World Cup or the football World Cup bring people into pubs, restaurants and hotels,” he said. “Our business is occasion based and this creates an opportunity for people to come out and meet friends. We’re confident that we’ll see a substantial economic boost.”

The Fountain Tavern in Belfast city centre is offering customers 50p off a pint per Irish try during the tournament, which he hopes will bolster his clientele.