British & Irish Lion Wyn Jones visited Aberdare RFC for a day of youth-focused rugby and helped the South Wales club raise £10,000 as part of Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour.
Jones, who started the third Test against South Africa on the 2021 Tour, was joined by Wales Women’s scrum-half Ffion Lewis, Welsh U20s captain Alex Mann and former Wales international – and current strength and conditioning coach – Huw Bennett for a day of fun and festivities with the local community.
The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s Mike Tindall and Alex Payne also took part in the event, helping Mann lead warm-up and training sessions with a selection of young players from the club.
The day was particularly special for Mann, who was a mini and junior player at Aberdare RFC having joined the club as an under eight and played through to under 16s.
Aberdare is one of four clubs – along with Westbury RFC, Dungannon RFC and Bannockburn RFC – taking part in the Vodafone initiative, which is supporting grassroots rugby clubs in the UK and Ireland.
The funds, in combination with new technology offered by Vodafone, will help the club run more efficiently and improve its financial stability following a difficult period during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ethan Williams, Aberdare RFC Senior Team Manager, said: “It’s been incredible to see such a wave of excitement across the club this weekend.
“The skills our team have gained, coupled with the incredible amount of money we have raised will go a long way in helping us to continue our work developing youth rugby talent from the region.”
Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour programme visits Dungannon RFC
As part of the Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour programme, Aberdare RFC also received a new scoreboard, VEO camera and laptop while the club will also benefit from digital learning opportunities.
The event at Aberdare RFC concluded with a live recording of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby, with a discussion centred on women and youth rugby in Wales.
Ben Calveley, Managing Director, The British & Irish Lions said: “The Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour is a wonderful initiative that supports rugby clubs at grassroots level.
“We know that without the likes of Aberdare and the great people who put so much of themselves into sustaining their local clubs, there would be no British & Irish Lions because that’s where all future British & Irish Lions begin their careers.
“We’d like to thank Vodafone for their commitment to the Lions Legacy Tour.”
To further support grassroots rugby, Vodafone is developing a bespoke business resource for all community clubs across the UK and Ireland.
The toolkit will be available via V-Hub, Vodafone’s platform for helping small businesses develop their digital capabilities as they get back on their feet following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launching in Spring 2022, it will offer essential tips and guidance to help clubs develop new skills and expertise within digital marketing, content strategies and social media amplification.