Londoners were today encouraged to put down their rackets, clubs and bats for the summer and hand in their tennis balls, footballs, basketballs and golf balls in exchange for a rugby ball.
As rugby fever grips the nation ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 next month, four stars of Home Nations rugby gathered in front of Tower Bridge this morning to give away hundreds of free rugby balls. The activity was part of a special Coca-Cola rugby exchange, encouraging people to swap their usual summer sports and past times and try out rugby instead.
Leading the exchange was England’s Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Mike Tindall alongside Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 champions Emily Scarratt and Natasha Hunt, as well as former Scotland international Thom Evans. The crowds gathered at Potters Fields Park to take part were also treated to a game with the four rugby icons as they were taught basic passing skills and other ways to have fun with a rugby ball.
The rugby ball exchange took place to mark the launch of official Rugby World Cup 2015 sponsor, Coca-Cola’s biggest ever rugby on-pack promotion, which is giving consumers across Great Britain the chance to win one of up to one million of the exclusive Coca-Cola Gilbert replica rugby balls.
Throughout the morning the players collected balls of all shapes and sizes from a range of sports and activities. The exchanged equipment will be donated to StreetGames, Coca-Cola’s charity partner which brings sport to the doorstep of young people in disadvantaged communities across the UK.
Mike Tindall, Rugby World Cup 2003 winner, commented: “With Rugby World Cup 2015 just around the corner, it’s been great to see so many Londoners join in with our rugby exchange and pledge to give rugby a go this summer. I really hope the rugby balls we’ve given away this morning will be the first step in inspiring thousands more people to pick up a ball with their friends and family, head down to the park and have some fun.”
Paul Dwan, General Manager of Coca-Cola’s Rugby World Cup 2015 team, added: “We know that major sporting events have the ability to inspire people to get out and play and so we want to use our sponsorship to help people do that by putting rugby balls in the hands of people up and down the country. We’re delighted to have had Mike, Thom, Emily and Natasha to help us show how much fun the game can be.”
As an official partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, Coca-Cola is using its sponsorship to inspire people to be active and try out the game. Alongside the onpack promotion the brand is putting on hundreds of free rugby-inspired sessions through ParkLives and with charity partner StreetGames is putting on pop up street rugby in the host tournament cities.
The Coca-Cola Company and Rugby World Cup 2015
• The Coca-Cola Company is the official soft drinks provider of Rugby World Cup 2015.
• glaceau smartwater is the official water supplier of Rugby World Cup 2015.
• Powerade is the official sports drink of Rugby World Cup 2015.
Coca-Cola Great Britain
Coca-Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 19 brands and over 100 products to consumers across Great Britain. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognisable brands, our company portfolio includes Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Oasis, glaceau vitaminwater, glaceau smartwater, Schweppes, 5 Alive, Lilt, Kia Ora and Powerade. For more information about Coca-Cola in Great Britain, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.co.uk
ParkLives is a key part of Coca-Cola Great Britain’s commitment to help get one million people active by 2020. The ParkLives programme currently runs in six cities across the UK in Manchester, Glasgow, Nottingham, Newcastle, Birmingham and in Newham, London. To find out more about the activities and sessions on offer visit: www.parklives.com
Coca-Cola Great Britain is proud to have supported StreetGames since 2010 and through the partnership 165,000 young people have been helped to access sport on their doorstep. Through 200 neighbourhood and multi-sport festivals almost 55,000 young people have been reached.
StreetGames (www.streetgames.org) is an award-winning national sports charity launched in 2007. A national partner of Sport England and a national centre of expertise for developing sport in disadvantaged communities, the charity helps to make sport accessible to all young people, regardless of their income or social circumstances. It does this by supporting and establishing local projects around the UK that deliver doorstep sport, i.e. positive activities and sport provided to young people when they want it, where they want it and how they want it. Over 2.4 million attendances have already been generated by StreetGames projects.