Rugby Captains Dinner converts £240,000 for charity

18 September 2015 by
Rugby Captains Dinner converts £240,000 for charity

The Rugby Captains Dinner, organised by foodservice and events company Smart Group, has raised £240,000 for the Willow Foundation and Restart, the rugby charity.

The gala evening took place on Wednesday (16 September) ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup, which kicks off today (18 September).

More than 1,300 people attended the event at Battersea Evolution in London where they were served a three-course meal devised by Angela Hartnett.

The menu included confit cod with smoked potato puree, parsley mussels and clams as a starter followed by roast fillet of Surrey farms beef, wilted spinach, and heritage carrots with a Madeira wine sauce as the main course. The meal was rounded off with a salted caramel mousse, Bramley apple compote with roasted oats and vanilla ice-cream.

The event featured all the Rugby World Cup winning captains bar reigning champion New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, who will be leading his country again this time round.

The six cup-winning captains at the dinner were David Kirk, New Zealand (1987), Nick Farr-Jones, Australia (1991), Francois Pienaar, South Africa (1995), John Eales, Australia (1999), Martin Johnson, England (2003), and John Smit, South Africa (2007).

Richie McCaw captained the winning All Blacks team in 2011 and will be playing in his 17th World Cup match this Sunday (20 September) when New Zealand face Argentina.

The captains were joined by numerous other rugby greats including Ben Kay, Ugo Monye, Paul Doran-Jones, James Hook, Tom Croft, Alex Corbisiero, Dorian West, Matt Poole among others.

England international Martin Bayfield (pictured) was compere for the evening and extracted a manner of predictions, antics, insights and anecdotes from the captains.

He also conducted the charity auction which contributed to the total amount raised for charities on the night.

Auction lots ranged from a four-ball tournament with Mark Cueto, Kyran Bracken, Neil Back and Hugo Southwell to exclusive hospitality tickets for the England v Australia match.

The evening also included a performance of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by RFU mezzo soprano Laura Wright.

Smart Group bolsters portfolio with Moving Venue deal >>

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