Trafford MV RFC are hoping their centenary year will be a golden one on the pitch, as they target success in the inaugural Papa Johns Community Cup.
The Sale-based side are among dozens of clubs whose men’s and women’s teams will compete in the two new Community Cup competitions this season.
The RFU has announced a long-term partnership with global pizza brand Papa Johns, who will become the naming rights partner.
Boosting participation in adult community club rugby is at the heart of the partnership, with the ultimate prize of a showpiece finals day at an iconic venue to whet the appetite of clubs across the country.
At the launch of the new competition, Greg Hawkins, Chairman of Trafford MV of 30 years, praised the ongoing support of the RFU and welcomed the addition of an exciting new trophy.
“The RFU have always been fantastic with us,” he said.
“We’ve always made best use of the support available, which I think totals around £2 million from the RFU through grants and schemes, which has allowed us to extend the floodlights, the clubhouse and create a better atmosphere for our members.
“Their support has helped us become a massive community club.”
Papa Johns is also the official pizza delivery and takeaway partner of England Rugby and will debut with the Red Roses during the September Internationals.
They will also first be seen at Twickenham during this season’s Autumn Nations Series where England’s men will take on Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa in November.
Meanwhile, the Cup Competition is part of the wider Future Competition Structure, the biggest league restructure in 30 years. The new men’s format will see a reduction in travel for most clubs, an improvement in player experience and changes to suit the lifestyle of the current player.
The cup action for the women’s teams will run throughout the year while the men’s competition will take place at the back end of the season to avoid fixture congestion. This also means that clubs, teams and players will have a chance to win some silverware, regardless of their league performance.
Hawkins, who has been involved with Trafford MC RFC since the age of 16, is looking forward to seeing his club renew old rivalries and forge new ones.
“Being a Greater Manchester club, we've always had long standing fixtures against certain clubs,” Hawkins said.
“A lot of players are happy because they've limited the travelling to an hour, it means we’ll stay local. It's worked out a lot better for us, and we’re excited for the new competition.”
Meanwhile, Trafford MV Women’s captain, Kate Hamilton, hopes the new competition - and the upcoming Women's World Cup - can inspire more girls to play rugby .
“The sport is growing, women’s sport is growing in general,” she said. “We’ve had an incredible summer of sport and the winter will hopefully be the same. If you’re a woman and you’re not part of a rugby club and you think you might be slightly into it, get down to one.”
Papa Johns has been announced as the official naming partner of the men’s and women’s community cup competitions, the Papa Johns Community Cup. Also, they will be the official pizza delivery and takeaway partner of England Rugby. The multi-year partnership aims to support community rugby across England - visit: https://www.englandrugby.com/news/article/papa-johns-delivers-for-england-rugby