England Rugby has agreed a multi-year partnership supporting men’s and women’s community rugby with pizza delivery chain Papa Johns, who become England Rugby’s Pizza Delivery & Takeaway Partner.
The 2022-23 season will also see the newly structured men’s and continued women’s Community Cup competitions become the Papa Johns Community Cup.
This nationwide boost to grassroots rugby will culminate in a showpiece finals day at an iconic venue, with Papa Johns and England Rugby both driving awareness and participation.
At the launch of the new partnership, players from community clubs gathered at Trafford MV RFC in Manchester to celebrate the new competition format. The men’s league competition will see travel reduced for most clubs, improve players’ experience and fit current players’ lifestyles, with the cup taking place at the end of the season. The Papa Johns Community Cup gives clubs a chance to compete for silverware whatever their position in the leagues.
Henry Gong, Burnage RFC men’s captain, said: “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 Saturdays, which is great.”
Papa Johns’ partnership will feature at the Red Roses’ September internationals and be first seen at Twickenham Stadium during the Autumn Nations Series in November when England’s men take on Argentina, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. England Rugby fans will also have the chance to win merchandise, tickets, and enjoy pizza from a Papa Johns concession at Twickenham.
Liz Williams, Papa Johns Chief International Operating Officer said: “This 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.
“We are excited to be part of this journey and can’t wait to engage with England Rugby fans at Twickenham for what is sure to be an excellent set of Autumn Nations Series matches.”
Steve Grainger, RFU Director of Rugby Development said: “It’s fantastic to see Papa Johns becoming our first partner for the new community cup competition. As part of our recently revised competitions offer, the new cup will be an end-of-season climax for the community game where we will see many clubs facing new opposition, along with others re-igniting local rivalries. Papa Johns are looking to really engage with the community players during their partnership and will be rewarding many of them for their efforts on the field along the way.”
Steve Maddren, Director at Six Sport said: "We are proud to have played our role in building this community focused partnership, designed to support and grow the grassroots game the length and breadth of the country. Looking forward to seeing some invaluable activation across the men's and women's game."
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