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Press Release | 10 Nov 2021

Rugby legends visit Dungannon RFC to celebrate the return of grassroots sport

Rugby legends visit Dungannon RFC to celebrate the return of grassroots sport

Fun-filled day of sport for the community, plus tech investment for the local club's future.

  • New Vodafone initiative to boost digital capabilities and raise much-needed funds for community rugby clubs comes to Dungannon.
  • Local rugby stars Stephen Ferris, Tyrone Howe, and Gill Bourke to attend Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour at Dungannon RFC on Saturday 27 November.
  • The Tour is part of Vodafone’s Lions Legacy programme to support the return of grassroots rugby through the provision of technology and digital skills workshops and resources.
  • The event will offer a day of entertainment, education and fundraising as well as champion the club’s first female Chair of Rugby, Cheryl Wilson, and her dedication to progressing female rugby in the local community.
  • Cheryl, Tyrone Howe, and Gill Bourke will appear as special guests on a live recording of renowned rugby podcast The Good, The Bad & The Rugby filmed at the club on the day.

On Saturday 27 November, Dungannon RFC will be joined by two British & Irish Lions legends – Dungannon RFC’s former flanker, Stephen Ferris and winger, Tyrone Howe – as well as current Irish rugby union player Gill Bourke and former England players, Mike Tindall, James Haskell and TV presenter Alex Payne, for the second leg of the Vodafone Lions Legacy Tour.

Dungannon RFC is one of four clubs – including Westbury RFC, Aberdare RFC and Bannockburn RFC – selected for the tour, an initiative dedicated to supporting grassroots rugby clubs in the UK and Ireland. Dungannon was chosen for its commitment to growth and championing women’s rugby.

Vodafone, as the lead partner for the 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa, is visiting each club to host a fun-filled day of sport, including scheduled matches, pitch-side games and entertainment. The tour aims to raise awareness of the positive impact grassroots rugby has on the local community and help raise much-needed funds for the clubs, following the many challenges faced during the pandemic.

James Haskell at Westbury RFC, the previous and first stop on the Lions Legacy Tour.

Vodafone’s Lions Legacy programme will also provide technology solutions, including video camera equipment and MacBooks, to support training and matchday analysis, as well as the creation of social media content. Dungannon RFC will also receive a new till system to help it run more efficiently, plus other digital learning tools to help it become more financially sustainable.

On the day itself, a selection of Dungannon RFC members will be invited to attend digital workshops led by the team behind The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast. This will include a session with James Haskell on social media and another session on how to celebrate, market and commercialise the club’s 150 Year Anniversary (due to take place in 2023), led by businessman and sports presenter, Alex Payne.

Dungannon RFC’s first female Club Chairperson of Rugby, Cheryl Wilson said:“Our club is in the heart of the Dungannon community, which like to so many, has depleted following the global pandemic. The visit by Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour is exactly what our members need to feel re-energised and re-commited to our club’s future and will give us the knowledge and tools to make change happen. We’re so excited to welcome our guests to the club and bring the wider community back together again with something exciting”.

Vodafone Consumer Director, Max Taylor said:“We’re really pleased to be using our partnership with The British & Irish Lions to support the community clubs that spot, nurture and develop the Lions players of tomorrow. Our trip to Northern Ireland is a special one, as Dungannon RFC was once home to some of the nation’s greatest Lions players”.

James, Mike and Alex of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast will take part in the day’s events to help raise awareness of the community spirit and importance of grassroots rugby. They will finish the day by hosting a live podcast recording of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby, inside the Dungannon RFC clubhouse, guest starring Tyrone Howe, Gill Bourke and Club Chairperson of Rugby, Cheryl Wilson.

To further support grassroots rugby, Vodafone is developing a resource for all community clubs across the UK and Ireland available through V-Hub, a website to help small businesses develop their digital capabilities following the Covid-19 pandemic. Available from Spring 2022, the toolkit will offer essential tips and guidance and help clubs develop new skills and expertise in digital marketing and social media.

Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour is free to attend from 9am on Saturday 27 November, with the live podcast followed by a live music act available to ticket holders only. For more information on the event please visit Dungannon RFC social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

– ENDS –

NOTES TO EDITORS

Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour kicked off at Westbury RFC, Wiltshire on Saturday 23 October 2021.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s Alex Payne, James Haskell and Mike Tindall; England player, Emily Scarratt and former British & Irish Lion, Jason Robinson joined 550 residents for the event festivities, raising over £9,000 for the club.

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.

British & Irish Lions

The British & Irish Lions are one of the most famous teams in the world of rugby. Every four year, the Lions – selected from the national sides of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – head to the southern hemisphere to do battle with rugby heavyweights New Zealand, Australia or South Africa.

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 June 2021, we have 5G in 364 locations across Europe – 124 in the UK and 240 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 24 UK towns and cities, rising to 34 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

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

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