After the announcement of the England Rugby World Cup squad earlier this week, RFU sponsor O2 unveiled its Wear The Rose campaign at a live event in Bristol.
The free festival held at the Bristol Amphitheatre included appearances by Head Coach Eddie Jones, 2003 World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson and player-turned-pundit Ugo Monye as well as live music and a touch rugby tournament in which 160 fans competed.
The telecoms giant has been affiliated with England Rugby for 24 years, making it one of the longest-serving sponsors in sport, but it has also invested in grassroots rugby in the country with O2 Touch, which is England’s leading provider of touch leagues and tournaments.
The event was designed to show the England squad the level of the public’s support of the team ahead of the World Cup in Japan starting next month, but also to showcase O2’s commitment to growing rugby in the country, where it has introduced more than 30,000 people to touch rugby since 2013.
Gareth Griffiths, Head of Sponsorship at O2, said: “As lead partner of England Rugby, it was fantastic to show the team just how strongly they are supported while giving fans an opportunity to meet the squad. It was a privilege to bring the entire playing squad, Eddie and legends like Jonny Wilkinson to the Bristol community at Wear the Rose Live.”
Eddie Jones, England Rugby Head Coach added: “It was great to see so many passionate fans turn out in such high numbers to see the team and it’s a welcome reminder for the players to know who they represent when they step onto the pitch. The power of fan support is huge and knowing we have the entire rugby community behind us certainly helps carry the team that extra mile when we cross the white line.”