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Rugby Football Union (RFU) collaborate with Sport UNLIMITED on ‘Play Together, Stay Together’ campaign

November 17, 2022

The RFU has collaborated with Sport UNLIMITED to deliver an integrated participation campaign called ‘Play Together, Stay Together’, supported by The National Lottery, aimed at encouraging lapsed players of all levels back in to the game, with a particular focus on 30+ social players in the men’s game where playing numbers have dropped following the pandemic.

The national adult participation campaign, used unique insight from Sport UNLIMITED’s Human Understanding Lab (HUL), into the motivations and barriers critical to driving demand for the game. ‘Play Together, Stay Together‘ showcases the unique camaraderie rugby has and helps remind players who have had a break from the game, of the fact that rugby offers so much more than just a game – it’s a community that supports each other.

Part of the campaign saw England legends, Mike Tindall and James Haskell host a one-off match with a star-studded group of former England internationals taking to the field with grassroots players in a celebration of rugby’s ability to create communities, forge lifelong friendships and keep players physically active. In collaboration with The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast the match was live streamed across RFU channels to over 83,000 viewers, with further content distributed across RFU, GB&R and player channels. The campaign can be viewed here.

The campaign centres around an emotive 60’ hero video called ‘Beyond the 80’ which seeks to remind lapsed players what they’re missing both on and off the pitch, driving them to re-engage with their grassroots club. Shot using real players, real match footage and the iconic voice of Nick Mullins, the spot will be shared on social channels and throughout the Autumn Nations Series. See here.

At a club level, Sport UNLIMITED has also created a series of toolkits to further drive participation at a local level.

Lee Gibbons, MD, Sport UNLIMITED commented: “The campaign works on so many levels and reminds us about the importance of human connection and the fun and sense of belonging you have at a rugby club. Rugby has faced more challenges than most sports during the pandemic, due to its contact nature and the enforced break during Covid. Match completion rates in lower leagues in the men’s game fell last season and some social XVs struggled to field enough players to fulfil fixtures. Play Together, Stay Together is part of the RFU’s wider activity to reboot playing numbers in the community game. The campaign demonstrates perfectly how Sport UNLIMITED understand the emotions and passions behind the sport and how we can turn that insight in to an engaging creative execution.”