New Zealand’s Investec Super Rugby players will wear brightly coloured laces in this week’s competition round to send a message that rugby is for everyone.
The #rugbyforeveryone campaign targets people not traditionally involved and encourages everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or ability to become part of the rugby community.
The campaign, which is now in its second year, will run across social media and includes on-field promotion at this week’s matches at AMI Stadium in Christchurch and Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
New Zealand Investec Super Rugby teams swapped laces with members of their local communities to wear in this Friday and Saturday’s games. The coloured laces celebrate difference and send a message of inclusivity.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager – Rugby, Neil Sorensen, said rugby was aspiring to make sure it’s a sport for everyone.
“We want Rugby to be inclusive of all New Zealanders no matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like, their beliefs or abilities. There is no room for discrimination in our sport. The coloured laces are a symbolic gesture and we support anyone getting involved.
“It’s not just about playing rugby. We want people to become referees, volunteers and fans. If we want to grow our game and supporter base we need to reach out to different communities not currently involved in rugby and make it a welcoming place for them to be active.”
He said for players, wearing these laces was a symbolic gesture to support rugby being a game for everyone – regardless of size, shape, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation.
“We know we still have work to do, but the message is clear that we want to be an inclusive sport at all levels of the game. New Zealand Rugby’s goal is to inspire and unify New Zealanders, and to do that we need to connect with people from all walks of life including those not currently involved in the game.”