Ten specially designed rugby posts are to be installed in parks and green spaces around Milton Keynes as part of the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) Posts in the Park scheme.
The scheme has been launched on “2 Years To Go” until the start of Rugby World Cup 2015.
In May, Milton Keynes was announced as one of 13 Match Venues for Rugby World Cup 2015, hosted in England between September 18 and October 31 2015, following a joint bid made by Milton Keynes Council, MK Dons and other city partners.
England Rugby 2015 (ER 2015) ambassador Will Greenwood (a member of England’s 2003 World Cup winning team) joined the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Brian White and Chairman of MK Dons, Pete Winkelman in the city centre this week to launch the scheme, when one of the ten posts was temporarily erected on the slope at the Snozone.
Northampton Saints’ Will Hooley, who won the Junior World Cup with England Under-20s in the summer, Bedford Blues’ James Pritchard, who will be hoping to feature for his country Canada against France at Stadium MK in two years time, and MK Dons’ George Baldock were also in attendance to show their support for the Post in the Park scheme and the Tournament.
The Posts in the Park programme is just one of the RFU’s ‘Lead up and Legacy’ initiatives aiming to broaden the appeal of rugby and to reach out to new audiences and areas ahead of the tournament in 2015.
Milton Keynes Council will be working with local parish and town councils in the weeks ahead to determine the best locations for the posts in Milton Keynes.
Pete Winkelman, Chairman of MK Dons and part of Milton Keynes’ winning bid team said: “While there’s still two years to go, we’re already working with England Rugby 2015 to deliver a celebration of rugby which the whole borough – and country can be proud of and be part of, and which inspires people to play and support the game.
“The sight of a rugby post springing up in an unexpected place is intended to get people talking about rugby and the Rugby World Cup coming to their home. We also hope that it will inspire everyone, both young and old, to try their hand at replicating the most historic moment in the history of English rugby - dropping a goal like Jonny Wilkinson!”
Geoff Snelson, Director of Strategy at Milton Keynes Council and also part of the team said: “The Posts in the Park initiative is one part of wider plans to make the most of the opportunities that hosting the Rugby World Cup brings, and to help the people of Milton Keynes feel a connection to rugby in the build-up to the tournament and the game at large.
"We’ll be sharing details of how else we’ll be getting more people playing, coaching, refereeing and volunteering, as well as watching and talking about rugby as we get nearer to 2015.”
To find out more about opportunities to play rugby locally (Touch or any other form) go to www.rfu.com/takingpart or www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/sportsclubs.
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