RFU Director of Rugby Development Steve Grainger hailed the arrival of the Papa Johns Community Cup as a major opportunity for grassroots rugby.
The RFU has announced a new long-term partnership with the global pizza brand, who will become the naming rights partner of England Rugby’s two new Community Cup competitions.
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.
Grainger attended the Papa Johns Community Cup launch at Trafford MV RFC in Manchester to meet some of the players who will benefit and to hear their hopes and expectations for the season ahead.
He said: “Two new cup competitions, one for men and one for women, give really exciting opportunities at the end of the season following the traditional league format to embark on a knockout cup competition, where teams at different levels will play with finals at iconic venues.
“The attendance at Trafford MV is a real indicator of the interest in the Papa Johns Community Cup. For a long while players have wanted something a little bit different at the end of the season, a bit more of a mixed diet.
“If you’re sitting at the middle of the league with not a lot to play for, we want to keep those players still engaged in the game. The turnout has been fantastic and the enthusiasm for both competitions has been great to see.”
Papa Johns is also the official pizza delivery and takeaway partner of England Rugby and will debut with the Red Roses during the September Internationals.
They will first be seen at Twickenham during this season’s Autumn Nations Series where England’s men take on Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa in November.
Throughout the partnership, England Rugby fans will have the chance to win merchandise, the chance to watch their heroes with ticket giveaways, and even a Papa Johns concession at Twickenham, serving up delicious slices to supporters on matchday.
Meanwhile, the Cup Competition is part of the wider Future Competition Structure, the biggest league restructure in 30 years. The new men’s format will see a reduction in travel for most clubs, an improvement in player experience and changes to suit the lifestyle of the current player.
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.
Grainger added: “I think the great thing is it’s something at the start of the season to look forward to later on and wherever clubs are at the end of the season in the league table it gives them an opportunity to play in a few more matches, compete for something and hopefully to lift a trophy at the end of the day. “
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