Press Release | 26 Apr 2022

Rugby legends help raise over £10,000 for Aberdare RFC as part of Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour

Rugby legends help raise over £10,000 for Aberdare RFC as part of Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour

Former Aberdare RFC junior, Alex Mann, led training sessions with young players during a day of youth-focused activities, celebrating Vodafone and Aberdare’s commitment to developing the next generation of rugby talent.

  • Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour sees rugby legends help raise more than £10,000 for Aberdare RFC.
  • British & Irish Lion Wyn Jones; Welsh Women’s captain, Ffion Lews; Wales U20 Captain, Alex Mann; and Welsh strength and conditioning coach and former international, Huw Bennett, visited the club alongside The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s Mike Tindall and Alex Payne.
  • Former Aberdare RFC junior, Alex Mann, led training sessions with young players during a day of youth-focused activities, celebrating Vodafone and Aberdare’s commitment to developing the next generation of rugby talent.
  • As part of the Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour programme, Aberdare RFC received a new scoreboard, a Veo sports camera and a laptop; and will also benefit from digital learning opportunities.

British & Irish Lion Wyn Jones joined a day of youth-focused rugby at Aberdare RFC, in support of Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour, helping the South Wales club to raise an impressive £10,000. Aberdare RFC is one of four clubs, including Westbury RFC, Dungannon RFC and Bannockburn RFC – taking part in the Vodafone initiative, dedicated to supporting grassroots rugby clubs in the UK and Ireland.

Wyn was joined by current Welsh Women’s captain, Ffion Lewis; Welsh U20s captain, Alex Mann; former Welsh international and current strength and conditioning coach, Huw Bennett – alongside The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s Mike Tindall and Alex Payne, for a day of pitchside fun and festivities with the local community.

A highlight of the day included Alex Mann, Mike Tindall and Alex Payne leading warm-up and training sessions with a selection of young players from the club. The day was particularly special for Mann who was a mini and junior player at Aberdare RFC, joining the club as an under-eight and playing through to under-16s.

The funds, in combination with new technology and digital learning opportunities offered by Vodafone, will help the club run more efficiently and improve its financial stability following a difficult period during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the programme, the club also received a new electronic scoreboard, Veo sports camera and laptop.

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The event finished with a live recording of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby, with a discussion centred on women and youth rugby in Wales.

Vodafone Consumer Director, Max Taylor, said: “We’re thrilled to see Aberdare RFC host such a fantastic event for the local community. The excitement felt over the last weekend has been immense and it is testament to the crucial role that grassroots clubs play in their local areas.

“We hope that the skills and support offered by Vodafone can inspire the club to build on its fantastic work, and go from strength to strength in the future.”

Ethan Williams, Aberdare RFC Senior Team Manager, said: “It’s been incredible to see such a wave of excitement across the club this weekend. The skills our team has gained, coupled with the incredible amount of money we have raised, will go a long way in helping us to continue our work developing youth rugby talent from the region.”

Ben Calveley, Managing Director, The British & Irish Lions, said: “The Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour is a wonderful initiative that supports rugby clubs at grassroots level. We know that without the likes of Aberdare and the great people who put so much of themselves into sustaining their local clubs, there would be no British & Irish Lions because that’s where all future British & Irish Lions begin their careers.

“We’d like to thank Vodafone for their commitment to the Lions Legacy Tour.”

To support grassroots rugby further, Vodafone is developing a bespoke business resource for all community clubs across the UK and Ireland. The toolkit will be available through V-Hub, Vodafone’s platform for helping small businesses develop their digital capabilities as they get back on their feet following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launching in Spring 2022, it will offer essential tips and guidance to help clubs develop new skills and expertise within digital marketing, content strategies and social media amplification.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from Vodafone by following us on Twitter and signing up for News Centre website notifications.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour has visited four clubs, Westbury RFC, Dungannon RFC, Bannockburn RFC and Aberdare RFC, to raise funds and help support grassroots rugby in the UK and Ireland. The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s Alex Payne, James Haskell and Mike Tindall have joined thousands of residents for the event festivities. Previous highlights from the tour can be viewed here and here.

About Vodafone & Rugby

Vodafone was Lead Partner of the British & Irish Lions for the 2021 Tour of South Africa. United by a shared passion for connecting people – both to each other and the things they love – Vodafone and the Lions worked together to make 2021 the most connected Tour in history.

Working with Lions legends past and present, Vodafone used the latest connective technology to bring fans closer to the Tour than ever before. This included the creation of the Vodafone Digital Lions, allowing fans to become a Lion digitally and interact with their favourite players and events, as well as the world’s first 5G autograph, using Vodafone’s super low latency 5G network to reward Lions superfans in the UK with an autograph from their idols in South Africa, from 8,000 miles away.

The partnership builds on Vodafone’s heritage of bringing technological advances to the rugby fan experience. In May 2019, Vodafone UK announced a two-year partnership with Wasps rugby and Wasps Netball to bring to life the benefits of 5G technology. Two months later, Vodafone worked with Wasps to create the world’s first 5G haptic rugby tackle. Using a haptic Teslasuit and the Vodafone 5G network, Wasps Rugby player Juan de Jongh was able to feel the impact of a tackle made 100 miles away by team mate Will Rowlands.

In October 2019, Vodafone trialled tech during the Wasps vs London Irish match which provided new camera angles and close-ups to get fans involved with the on-pitch play and give them “5Gamechanger seats” – the best seats in the house. Video from 360° cameras placed around the pitch – including in the players’ tunnel, dug-out and south stand – was streamed over 5G to give fans a real-time perspective on the game, getting them closer to the action than ever before.

In September 2019, Vodafone Ireland signed an extension agreement to be principal sponsor of the Irish Rugby team and communications partner to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) until 2024. The agreement also saw Vodafone become official sponsor of the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship. The multi-year deal will see Vodafone and the IRFU work together to use both new and existing technology to create events, activations and content that will benefit all rugby fans and Vodafone customers in Ireland.

The British & Irish Lions

The British & Irish Lions is an iconic team in the world of rugby. Every four years, the Lions – the best-of-the-best selected from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – travel to the southern hemisphere to take on Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa on landmark tours.

The Lions is the pinnacle of players’ careers, a once in a lifetime experience for fans and leaves an enduring legacy wherever the team visit.

The Lions foundations are strong, built upon 130 years of history and tradition with tours taking place regularly since 1888.

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of March 2022, we have 5G in 380 locations across Europe – 141 in the UK and 239 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 26 UK towns and cities, rising to 35 over the coming months, through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach. By spring 2022, our target is to make full fibre services available to more than eight million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

Vodafone UK Media Relations

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