Community clubs urged to enter the Papa Johns Men’s Community Cup

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The clock is ticking for community rugby clubs to enter the Papa Johns Men’s Community Cup, with the potential to play at Twickenham Stadium, or other prestigious venues, a tantalising incentive.

Twickenham will host many of the men’s and women’s Papa Johns Community Cup Finals during an action-packed weekend of international and grassroots rugby from April 29 to May 1.

The Red Roses will play France in their final game of the TikTok Six Nations on the Saturday, before the women’s and men’s Papa Johns Community Cup Finals take place on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

Finals weekend in late April

In addition to the Championship Finals at five levels (Regional 1, Regional 2, Counties 1, Counties 2 and Counties 3 & below) at Twickenham, finals for other competitions will be held at other prestigious venues on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30.

The Papa Johns Men’s Community Cup competition will take place after the completion of the regular league season. This was the most favoured model during the Future Competition Structure consultation with clubs, players, directors of rugby, Constituent Bodies and other key stakeholders, intended to decongest the season and avoid league fixture clashes.

Moving the Cup after the league season means teams can submit their entry mid-season when they have a better understanding of their squad numbers and motivation of players to compete in the Cup.

The new cup format responds to player feedback that they want a varied diet of rugby and the opportunity to test themselves against different opposition, providing something to play for regardless of how their league season has gone.

Clubs’ final league positions, alongside entry numbers, will determine which competition they will compete in within their respective league level, helping to ensure clubs play in competitive fixtures through their Cup Competitions.

Fixtures will be held across March 25, April 1, April 8, April 15 and April 22 next year, with the finals weekend running over April 29 to May 1.

RFU Chief Executive Officer, Bill Sweeney, said: “This Community Cup will, with Papa Johns support, be important for the grassroots game as it gives clubs something to play for beyond league status as well as the chance for many teams to play at Twickenham Stadium, which is every rugby player’s dream, and will create lifelong memories for team mates and club followers.”

Liz Williams, Chief International Operating Officer at Papa Johns, said: “We’re delighted that many community clubs will have the opportunity to play the final at such as prestigious venue. The hard work put in by the teams throughout the season will be rewarded at the Community Cup final and we’re proud to support them on this journey.”

Alongside the incentive to play at the home of England Rugby, competing clubs will have access to travel bursaries for away fixtures and exclusive benefits offered by Papa Johns.

Papa Johns became naming rights partner of the Community Cup as part of a long-term deal announced in August 2022 at Trafford MV RFC.

The Cup has already seen old club rivalries brought back to life in the women’s competition, which kicked off in September, and will see similar in the men’s Cup in March and April next year.

More information about the Cup, and how to enter, can be found in the RFU’s Clubhouse magazine programme on England Rugby’s YouTube channel or via England Rugby’s website where clubs can complete the entry form before the December 1 deadline.

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