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RFU Redefines Rugby's Core Values

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The Rugby Football Union and its partners are launching a national campaign called ‘This is Rugby’ to promote and protect the Core Values of the sport.

Rugby union is the fastest growing major sport in the country1, attracting more people than ever to enjoy a vibrant game as professional and amateur players, volunteers and supporters.

But the expansion of rugby brings new challenges to the game and a need to sustain the standards that are its strengths.

Two years ago the RFU put together a task group to run an extensive consultation exercise2. The Core Values project is the first time a sport has set out to define its value system in formal terms. The evidence assessed included written and oral testimonies, focus groups and an online survey.

They identified Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship3 as the Core Values that underpin rugby union and recommended that their place at the heart of the game be vigorously promoted.

“These five values are what brought us into the sport and what keep us part of it, they are what rugby union has to offer and go way beyond the pitch and the clubhouse,” said RFU President John Owen.

“Rugby can be proud of its unique spirit but it’s important to make sure that is protected for the future. Our next task is to share and promote them within the whole game.”

Now the RFU, in partnership with Premier Rugby Limited and the Professional Rugby Players Association will work to promote the Core Values through the ‘This is Rugby’ campaign to everyone involved in rugby from the England team to the grassroots game.

It is supported by the International Rugby Board and closely linked to the IRB Playing Charter, the expression of the sport’s principles made by the game’s global governing body.

“The Core Values are a key theme of our Strategic Plan, enshrined in our mission statements and codes of conduct, and it’s the intention of the RFU and its partners to communicate them to the whole game,” said RFU Chief Executive Francis Baron.

“Our resources include a promotional film, Z cards, printed materials and online resources that will reach all our 1900 member clubs and 3000 member schools, as well as a series of workshops run throughout the country.”

Promoting Core Values

The ‘This is Rugby’ campaign will make all of those assets and collateral available to clubs around the country to help them educate players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and supporters about the core values that have made the game of rugby so successful and which now need to be actively maintained. That activity will be further extended in the professional rugby game by Premier Rugby Limited and the Professional Rugby Players Association.

Premier Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty said: “The qualities engendered by the Core Values have been a key component in making the Guinness Premiership a vibrant competition, attracting a wide and growing audience that includes many women, children and families.

“It is the responsibility of the Guinness Premiership clubs to live up to those Core Values and we will be promoting them to our supporters at our grounds and through our award winning community programmes.”

PRA Chief Executive Damian Hopley said: “It is imperative that we invest into education programmes for the professional players to ensure they continue to be aware of their privileged position as role models for the game.

“Through this thorough education programme the PRA and our members will work in partnership with the game's stakeholders to promote the Core Values of rugby union in this country.”

IRB and Nike add backing

This is Rugby logo

Photo: Getty Images

Chairman of the International Rugby Board, Bernard Lapasset, has also leant his support to the RFU’s Core Values of Rugby programme.

Lapasset said: “Rugby has at its very heart a set of core values that bind the global rugby family together. It is through the important pillars of discipline, respect and teamwork, enshrined within the IRB Charter, that the spirit of the game flourishes and these are the qualities which forge the fellowship and sense of fair play that is so essential to the game's appeal and ongoing success. 

“At a time when rugby is reaching out to more men, women and children all over the world, the IRB is pleased to see the RFU undertaking a programme of education and promotion to reinforce the importance of these core values within England."

England Rugby sponsor Nike has also added its backing to the campaign.

“Rugby encapsulates the core moral and ethical values of sport and these fundamental values must always be at the forefront for all participants at every level of the game,” said Barney Keeler, Nike’s Sports Marketing Manager for rugby.

“The RFU Core Values Campaign is a positive approach to building and maintaining these virtues, and is a significant development in the continued growth and success of rugby both on and off the field.  The campaign’s five core principles of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship capture the very spirit of the sport and are values which are very much shared by Nike.

“As official sportswear partner of the RFU and the England Rugby Team, we are proud to support this excellent initiative for the continued prosperity and future success of the game.”Ends

1 Sport England Active People Survey 2, 2006-2008.

2 The RFU Core Values Task Group held 13 focus groups, 2,722 people responded to an online questionnaire, and a series of other surveys and interviews informed the task group’s report

3 The validation statements for each of the five Core Values are attached to this press release.

RFU Press Office contact: Simon Mills on 07702 661214.


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