Rhinos set for Worlds First, Twitter
Rugby League World Champions Leeds Rhinos have announced that they will be the first rugby team in the world to include players Twitter handles on the back of their shirts for this Fridayâ€™s Stobart Super League clash against Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie.
For one game only, players in the squad who are on Twitter will have their Twitter handle across the back of their shirt instead of their surname as usual. The Rhinos are wearing a special lime green and steel alternative shirt this Friday to help raise awareness and funds for the Royal Navy & Royal Marine Charity as part of their third annual Armed Forces Day game.
The Rhinos are the leading club on Twitter in Super League with 18,000 followers whilst leading players Rob Burrow and Jamie Peacock have over 20,000 followers themselves. A remarkable 21 players of the first team squad of 31 this season are currently on Twitter.
The club will also launch a range of t-shirts that feature the Twitter handles for Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Ryan Bailey and Jamie Peacock that will be available from Friday.
The Rhinos are the first team to include Twitter handles for individual players across the squad. In March this year, the NBA released a range of merchandise with playersâ€™ Twitter handles on the back in place of their names, while Spanish football side Valencia have also used their Twitter handle on their shirts, printing it on the front of their jersey while they searched for a main sponsor in September 2011. In April this year, the FA Women's Super League announced that one player per team would have their Twitter handle on their sleeve during the season but the Rhinos have gone one stage further.
Commenting on the initiative, Leeds Rugby Media & PR Manager Phil Daly said, "We are delighted that the RFL have allowed us to bring this initiative forward. Twitter has been fantastic for us as a tool for communicating with our fans and especially so for our players. Superstars like Russell Crowe and Wayne Rooney have used their Twitter accounts to show their support for the Rhinos and we have seen Ryan Hall trending worldwide because of his try scoring exploits with the Rhinos and England.
"We are always looking for ways to innovate and spread the word about Leeds Rhinos. With over 500 million users on Twitter worldwide it is massive around the globe and a tremendous vehicle for us to grow our brand," added Daly.
To support this great initiative, Leeds Rhinos have specially produced t-shirts for four Leeds Rhinos players who are Twitter addicts! (LPL note: the above mentioned shirts for fans will be on sale at Headingley, in store in time for Fridays's match.
Although Ryan Bailey will not be sporting his name on the back of his shirt at Fridayâ€™s match, as his handle contravenes the RFLâ€™s regulations, he will have a t-shirt available for his loyal band of supporters.
The full list of players on Twitter is as follows:
Luke Ambler @Ambler09
Ryan Bailey* @hayemaker16
Luke Briscoe @lukebriscoee
Rob Burrow @Rob7Burrow
Jamel Chisholm @jamelchisholm7
Chris Clarkson @chrisclarkson00
Brett Delaney @brettdelaney3
Zak Hardaker @zakhardaker1
Weller Hauraki @Weller_Hauraki
Liam Hood @Liamhood24
Ian Kirke @IanKirke
Shaun Lunt @Shaun_Lunt
Danny McGuire @DannyMcguire6
Paul McShane @Paulmcshane9
Jamie Peacock @JamiePeacock10
Daniel Smith @smithdaniel1
Lee Smith @Smith2Lee
Jared Stewart @Jaredstewart9
Stevie Ward @Ste_Ward
Kallum Watkins @kallum_watkins
Brent Webb @Brent_D_Webb79
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