Leeds players will take to the field against Hull on Friday not with their names on the back of their shirts, but their Twitter usernames!
In a ground-breaking first for either rugby code, the Rhinos have been granted permission for the Twitter handles to appear on the back of a special lime green and steel shirt they are wearing to help raise awareness and funds for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Charity.
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, with 21 squad members on Twitter in total.
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.”
In March this year, the NBA released a range of merchandise with players’ 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.