An international rugby side could call Market Harborough home during the next Rugby World Cup if a bid to become a host town proves a success.
The town has been shortlisted as a potential host for one of the sides competing in the tournament being played on home soil in September 2015.
The joint bid has been submitted by Harborough District Council and Market Harborough Rugby Club
And following a recent assessment visit from the England Rugby 2015 team, those behind the bid say they are hopeful of making it through to the next round.
Leicester City FC’s stadium is one of the venues chosen for the tournament, while the town is just under an hour’s train ride from London, where Twickenham, Wembley and the Olympic Stadium are all hosting matches.
Other venues include Villa Park in Birmingham and Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.
Youngsters took part in a fun rugby event at the town’s Welland Park on Saturday to mark two years to go to the World Cup.
It saw the unveiling of new rugby posts at the park and the public launch of the bid to become a host town.
Youngsters took part in a kicking competition as well as fun rugby skills sessions run by the rugby club.
The club has been chosen by the Rugby Football Union to become a Lead Up and Legacy Centre for the World Cup and the club in the process of upgrading the facilities at its Northampton Road ground in a £160,000 scheme.
The club’s schools liaison officer Richard Lainchbury, who is working on the bid, said: “The rugby posts will be at the park until the World Cup and I would encourage youngsters to come down and practice their kicking skills.”
Cllr Blake Pain, leader of Harborough Council, said: “To host an international team for the duration of the 2015 World Cup would be fantastic for the district and the town.
“We are in the fortunate position of being within an hour from three of the match venues and a direct train ride from the London venues, so we are perfectly placed to host a team.
“The Harborough bid is a community bid, and if we are fortunate enough to be selected as a host we will welcome the team to the district and make it a home from home.”
For more information about the bid, contact Marianne Boyle, the sport and health development officer at the council at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01858 828282.