England Rugby and global pizza brand Papa Johns have joined forces ahead of the new season to support men’s and women’s community rugby across England.
A new long-term partnership will see the global pizza brand become the naming rights partner of England Rugby’s two new Community Cup competitions, the Papa Johns Community Cup.
Boosting participation in adult community club rugby is at the heart of the partnership, with the ultimate prize of a showpiece finals day at an iconic venue to whet the appetite of clubs across the country.
To launch the new partnership, Papa Johns and England Rugby teamed up with players from community clubs at Trafford MV RFC in Manchester, to discuss the season ahead and the growing anticipation for kick-off of the new competition format.
Steve Grainger, RFU Director of Rugby Development said: “It’s fantastic to see Papa Johns become our first sponsor of the new Community Cup competition.
“As part of our recently revised competitions offer, the new cup will be a crescendo to the end of the season for the community game, where we will see many clubs facing new opposition along with others reigniting local rivalries.
“Papa Johns are looking to really engage with community players during their partnership and will be rewarding many of them with treats for their hard-earned efforts on the field along the way.”
Speaking about the announcement, Liz Williams, Papa Johns’ Chief International Operating Officer, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to announce this partnership with England Rugby, we know it will be a fantastic opportunity for Papa Johns to support the grassroots game all over the country for adults of different levels.
“With a brand-new competition format just announced, we’re sure that community rugby in England will continue to go from strength to strength and show the difference that rugby can make to local communities.”
The cup action for the women’s teams will run throughout the year while the men’s competition will take place at the back end of the season to avoid fixture congestion. This also means that clubs, teams and players will have a chance to win some silverware, regardless of their league performance.
The benefits of the new cup competition were lauded by those in attendance at the launch event at Trafford MV RFC, including the host club women’s captain, Kate Hamilton.
She said: “Every sport needs funding, it’s hard to get travel to faraway places, so for things to be close by is great, when you know you’re not going to be under pressure to source anything or have to fundraise to get there.
“Alongside the league, it’s really nice to have something to get involved in. It’s more accessible and more inclusive, and that’s everything we want the sport to be.”
Henry Gong, men’s captain of Burnage Rugby Club, added: “It’s very exciting, the competition around here is fierce anyway so to put up a new competition in the north-west makes it a bit more local for everyone. More local rivalries make better Saturday’s, so it’s great.”
Papa Johns has been announced as the official naming partner of the men’s and women’s community cup competitions, the Papa Johns Community Cup. Also, they will be the official pizza delivery and takeaway partner of England Rugby. The multi-year partnership aims to support community rugby across England – visit: https://www.englandrugby.com/news/article/papa-johns-delivers-for-england-rugby