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Moody backs ‘Return to Rugby’ campaign

PUBLISHED: 15:30 02 September 2015

Land Rover Ambassador and Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Lewis Moody is backing the Return to Rugby initiative (pic: David Parry/PA)

Land Rover Ambassador and Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Lewis Moody is backing the Return to Rugby initiative (pic: David Parry/PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former England star supporting new initiative

Ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, England legend Lewis Moody has joined forces with England Rugby to introduce ‘Return to Rugby’ - a targeted programme offering a social re-introduction to the game for former players.

Delivered at 50 hand-picked clubs clustered around the Tournament’s host cities, the campaign is ambitiously aiming to bring back 5,000 players to the sport.

The Sport England-funded initiative is aimed at 18 to 30-year-olds and will offer a coaching programme that reacquaints players with key techniques within a social environment.

The 50 clubs involved will receive training, kit, equipment and marketing support from England Rugby to help to attract players at a local level.

Moody, who is the face of the initiative, said: “I was absolutely delighted when England Rugby asked me to get behind the Return to Rugby programme. I am involved in coaching at my local club, so I understand first-hand the challenges faced in recruiting new players.

“This programme, alongside the enjoyment and excitement that a home World Cup brings, will help clubs get as many people as possible into this beautiful game.”

England Rugby have been working on developing this programme as part of its broader Returning Players legacy pledge for some time as Steve Grainger, the RFU’s Development Director explained.

He said: “Return to Rugby has been designed based on research we conducted with players who had stopped playing rugby, which suggested that they would be more inclined to return to the game if there was an opportunity to come back into clubs and relearn the skills of rugby in a relevant way.

“We fully expect players to be inspired by the world’s best players during the upcoming Rugby World Cup and so it was important to ensure that there was an opportunity for them to play again in a way that was more aligned to what they need, but which ultimately leads to more players playing the game we love, more often.”

Return to Rugby was introduced to the 50 clubs who attended a briefing day, where the programme received a warm welcome.

Gary Spinks, chairman of Milton Keynes RFC, said: “We are excited about England Rugby’s Return to Rugby programme.

“Milton Keynes is a new town with many people moving here with work and family changes; we know that many people drop off the rugby radar when they move and we are looking forward to capturing them back into the game through Return to Rugby.”

For more information, head to returntorugby.com.

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