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Vickery launches search for Pride of the Nation

29 May 2013

  • Former England international and Lion Phil Vickery launches Pride of the Nation
  • Visit to help your club become the best supported grassroots club in the country
Phil Vickery at the launch of NatWest RugbyForce's Pride of the Nation

Photo: RFU Archive

England and Lions legend Phil Vickery this week returned to his first club to launch Pride of the Nation, a campaign developed by NatWest and the RFU to find the best supported grassroots rugby club in England.

Vickery visited Bude RFC, where his long and distinguished career began, to unveil a campaign that will reward the winning club with a visit from an England legend during NatWest RugbyForce weekend on June 15 and 16.

Encouraging clubs to go head-to-head in gathering support, Vickery said: “Every international rugby player started their career playing for their local club, for me Bude is where my passion and love of the game was built. The role grassroots rugby plays in establishing our love for the game is vital. By entering Pride of the Nation and signing up for NatWest RugbyForce you’re helping strengthen the foundations of your local club for years to come. There’s absolutely no excuse not to get involved.”

Over 5000 votes have already been cast as clubs demonstrate the strength of their support by calling on all members, friends and local community members to vote online to get them to the top of the leader board. Split into the four official RFU regions North, Midlands, London & South East and the South West, four rugby clubs will be crowned “Pride of their region”. Each of these four clubs will then be asked to explain in just 200 words why their club deserves to win the ultimate title of “Pride of the Nation”. 

Chris Long, Senior Sponsorship Manager at NatWest, commented: “The Pride of the Nation campaign is a fantastic opportunity for communities to join each other in supporting their local rugby club. Working alongside RugbyForce, a community initiative that has provided support to over 1,000 local rugby clubs since 2009, it demonstrates our commitment to supporting grassroots rugby in the UK.”

NatWest RugbyForce is a nationwide programme developed in partnership with the RFU to help make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the community. The work focuses around the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend in June.

Any club in England can enter the Pride of the Nation competition as long as they have registered for NatWest RugbyForce by midday on June 7, 2013. To play your part and vote for your club, simply head to:

To find out whether your club has made the leader boards yet, go to: