O2 today announces the launch of O2 Rugby Reunion, a nationwide initiative supported by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to encourage players who have drifted away from rugby to get back involved and put a team together. Teams will be invited to take part in one or more of a series of touch rugby events across the UK, culminating in a finale event on 5 Septemberwith a chance of meeting some of the current England Rugby team.

Aimed at reigniting players’ passion for rugby, O2 Rugby Reunion uses Facebook to reconnect players with their old teams and make it easy for them to start playing again. Using the specially created O2 Rugby Reunion Facebook application a captain can register a team and interest in a specific touch rugby event, send invites to friends and confirm attendance at the event(s) once a minimum of six team members have been recruited. Teams can then opt to take part in either the ‘fun’ or ‘competitive’ category for their local event. Teams can also come along on the day and take part.

O2 has teamed up with 2003 World Cup winner and current London Irish Attack Coach Mike Catt to help raise awareness of the campaign. Commenting on the initiative Mike Catt said: ‘As both a coach and past England player I truly believe in the importance of keeping young players in the game. Rugby is a fun, sociable sport for players and fans alike and I hope that through O2 Rugby Reunion more players can reunite with their old team mates and rediscover their love of the game.’

There will be six regional touch rugby events taking place throughout the country as follows:

  • Newcastle, Ryton RFC ‘ Saturday 24 July
  • London, Old Deer Park ‘ Saturday 31 July
  • Bristol, Portway Centre ‘ Saturday 7 August
  • Manchester, Broughton Park RFC ‘ Saturday 14 August
  • Coventry, Coundon Hall Park ‘Friday 20 August
  • Dorset, Oakmedians RFC ‘ Sunday 29 August

The finale event will then take place on Sunday5 September at Kneller Hall, Twickenham. Open to all, the event offers a day of rugby related fun for everyone including a chance to meet some of the current England Rugby Team. Regional finalists in the competitive category will be invited to compete at the finale event.

Shadi Halliwell, Head of Brand, O2 said: ‘As proud sponsor of the England Rugby team we are passionate about supporting rugby at all levels of the game. O2 Rugby Reunion is a great way for ex-players to get back into the game and for friends and families to enjoy a fun packed day of rugby. We are delighted to be continuing our support of the RFU’s Play On campaign and hope that it will encourage more people to return to the sport.’

O2 Rugby Reunion is part of the RFU’s Play On campaign, sponsored by O2, which aims to keep more 16’24 year olds in the game as they move from school into higher education and beyond. The Play On campaign is supported by a network of O2 Pathfinders, over 1,600 volunteers who guide players on their rugby journey by connecting them with clubs across the country.

Jenny Simms, Sponsorship Account Director, RFU said: “The Play On campaign is all about getting people back into the sport and O2 Rugby Reunion will be a vital part of the programme over the summer months. Showcasing other ways in which people can engage in rugby is an important strategy for the RFU and the O2 Rugby Reunion touch events have been created to ensure the best possible links to local clubs and the regional rugby communities. We are excited at the opportunity O2 has provided to reach a wider audience via the O2 Rugby Reunion and Facebook activity.”

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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