Honorary president of England Rugby 2015 Prince Harry and World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset, formally opened Rugby World Cup 2015 ahead of the tournament's opening clash between hosts England and Fiji.

A capacity crowd in the famous Twickenham stadium stands, and millions more on TV across the world saw the opening ceremony, which celebrated the story of rugby, from its inception in 1823 when William Webb Ellis picked up a ball at Rugby School and ran with it, through to Rugby World Cup 2015.

The 20 minute ceremony, themed as 'Breaking New Ground', featured Rugby legends from every competing nation including Martin Johnson, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh and Chester Williams.

The ceremony celebrated the history and values of the game and reflected the unprecedented global profile the tournament will receive over the coming weeks.

Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to be the biggest Rugby World Cup of all time based on match attendance, crossing France 2007's 2.25million tickets sold, global TV audience and digital exposure.

Prince Harry said: "This evening marks the beginning of a celebration of rugby which I hope will inspire current players, those new to the game and future generations.

"There will be moments in this World Cup which will live with us for the rest of our lives.

"Who could forget 1995 and President Mandela handing The Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar, or that Drop kick in 2003.

"To all the players, we congratulate you and wish you well for the Tournament.

"Your individual skill is to be celebrated, but I can think of no other sport where the success of the team is shouldered so equally by everyone.

"Rugby has changed dramatically in my lifetime. But it remains a game founded on a code of values. Values which are as important today, both on and off the field of play, as they have ever been.”

Lapasset added: "Rugby World Cup is all about bringing people together, creating unforgettable moments and celebrating Rugby, sport and friendship.

"The spectacular Opening Ceremony certainly kicked off the Tournament in style and the wonderful excitement and atmosphere bodes well for a Rugby World Cup that will excite and inspire new audiences around the world.”

England Rugby 2015 Managing Director, Stephen Brown, added: "We are delighted that Rugby World Cup 2015 got off to such a fantastic start, celebrating Rugby and launching this fantastic tournament to the global audience.”