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Virtual Rugby Club Opens Clubrooms

Virtual Rugby Club Opens Clubrooms

The virtual clubrooms of the Front Row Rugby Club – an online community of global rugby supporters created by Tourism New Zealand – have officially opened.

“The aim of the club is to convert a love of rugby and an interest in New Zealand into a trip to New Zealand, the ultimate rugby and tourism experience over the next four years,” says George Hickton, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive.

In August, predominantly New Zealanders travelling to the Rugby World Cup in France were recruited as founding members of the Front Row Rugby Club, captained by Tana Umaga. As ‘ambassadors’, they were sent supporters kits to help them invite friends and fellow rugby supporters to join the virtual club.

The Front Row Rugby Club now has virtual clubrooms to start meeting and building membership. The first order of business was “Tana’s Wrap Up” of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Quick to show their support, within 24 hours of an email notification being sent out from club captain, Tana Umaga, more than 25% of the 2955 registered members clicked through to the site.

Members also log on to update their personal profiles, invite their friends to be part of the virtual club and join the world’s largest team photo.

The homepage team photo features members who most actively use the site. Of the 921 members who have visited the new clubrooms since its launch on 2 November, 119 people have already posted their photos, 30 have sent the team photo to their friends and 213 have invited friends to join the club.

Some of the comments posted to the site so far include: “Bring on 2011! Can’t wait till all the action is in New Zealand!” and “See you in New Zealand in 2011!”

In the next phase of the initiative, membership will build with original members inviting friends and Tana Umaga will host a region by region tour of the country.

This is the first time Tourism New Zealand has used a viral email campaign to build interest in an event and the country.

Club members will continue to receive regular emails and video updates from Tana Umaga as new content is added.

Anyone can join the Front Row Rugby Club. Go to to register.


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