A LAUNCH event at Coventry Rugby Club was given a boost with several guest appearances –including three major trophies from rugby league.
Coventry Bears, based at Butts Park Arena, hosted the Super League, Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and League Leaders Shield trophies – the highest rugby league awards – for a pre-season friendly against local rivals Oxford RFC.
More than 300 fans flocked to the event, which was organised with the aim of raising the profile of rugby league in the city to encourage more involvement in the game.
Also in attendance at the match, which saw Coventry Bears win 42–4, was rugby league personality and presenter of TV show Rugby AM, Alex Simmons, as well as the current cup holders’ Leeds Rhinos’ marketing team and team mascot Ronnie the Rhino.
“Over the course of the day a number of people had their photos taken with the trophies and they really injected some extra excitement ahead of the match to help lead us to a convincing win against one of our local rivals,” said Alan Robinson, managing director of the Bears.
“It was great to host Rugby AM’s Alex Simmons and Leeds Rhinos club staff. For a team to have won the Challenge Cup, League Leaders Shield and the Grand Final all in one season really is a fantastic achievement and we hope the trophies’ appearance at the match will inspire more involvement in the game.”
The event also supported Coventry’s emerging vision to become a City of Rugby, a new initiative which will be launched later in the year as part of plans to increase engagement in the game across all ages in Coventry.
The project is being co-ordinated by the RFL, RFU and educational rugby programme, Engage!, and will aim to embed rugby and its values in the city – and Coventry Bears is one of the initiative’s key partners.
Alan added: “Having the trophies in the city helped to raise the profile of everything Coventry Bears is working to achieve and was the ideal way to celebrate the start of another promising season for the club.”