A little over 11 years after he lifted the trophy with England, Will Greenwood has urged the people of Milton Keynes to come out in number for the Rugby World Cup.
Three tournament games will be played at stadium:mk in October next year, and tickets have now been put on general sale for people to snap them up.
Greenwood played in two world cups during his eight year international career, including the historic 2003 victory in Australia, and believes Milton Keynes is an ideal location to watch rugby thrive.
Speaking to the Citizen, he said: “Everything is already set up at stadium:mk for it to be a real carnival.
“Rugby is a real family sport, and with the enthusiasm of Pete Winkelman, it can be a real success.
“Milton Keynes is still a new city in the grand scheme of things, so to be holding one of the biggest sporting events in the world there will put them on the sporting map.
“It might not be seen as a rugby city yet, but it wasn’t known as a place to ski either until Xscape came along!”
The former Leicester Tigers man is no stranger to the area, having pulled on the pink and grey of Olney Rugby Club a few years ago for a charity match.
“I’ve got a lot of friends in Newport Pagnell,” he added, “and they’re all going. It’s going to be a great occasion.”
Arguably the biggest game of the three to be held at stadium:mk will be France against Canada, which will be held on October 1.
And that game, Greenwood feels, would be suitable to grace any stage, let alone stadium:mk.
He said: “France are the best team never to have won the World Cup. They’ve been controversially beaten in the semi-finals, they’ve narrowly lost finals, and they were the width of the posts away from beating New Zealand.
“To have them in Milton Keynes will be a real occasion. And Canada too are a great side who haven’t missed a World Cup either.
“It’ll be a great game between two top sides, and it’d be great to have a sell-out.”
With tickets available at many of the other stadiums up and down the country, being part of the World Cup, Greenwood believes everyone will be gripped by the rugby bug by the time it kicks off.
He said: “The organisers are going about this quietly, and without controversy, but momentum is beginning to build now.
“I’ve been part of a few World Cups - playing and watching - and it’s an occasion not to be missed.
“With three games on a Saturday, two more on a Sunday, it will really grip the country, and we hope it’ll be a really international festival.”
Tickets for the games at stadium:mk are available at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com