Guinness has unveiled a new campaign, which celebrates stories of strength of character and integrity from the world of rugby. Rather than focus on the physical attributes of what makes a rugby player, this campaign looks to inner qualities like courage, empathy and resilience.
Gareth Thomas: Never Alone tells the story of how the former Wales captain’s greatest fear wasn’t the opposition he faced on the pitch, but the fear of rejection from everything he had known, because of his sexuality.
Ashwin Willemse: The Right Path tells the story of a man who had a choice of two paths when growing up. One dictated to him by a notorious Cape Town gang, and one he would need to make for himself, to follow a path to the pinnacle of rugby.
Nick Britton, Marketing Manager Guinness Western Europe said: “These films perfectly demonstrate the values of integrity and character that are both core to the sport of rugby. The courage that Gareth and Ashwin both showed, and the incredible empathy and support they received from their team, are remarkable stories that we are proud to celebrate.”
Gareth Thomas, former Wales captain, commented: “The support that my teammates showed when I came out was truly remarkable – my sexuality didn’t matter to them at all. I am very proud about my rugby playing career, but I am more proud of the fact that my teammates supported me to play rugby being Gareth Thomas, being the person that I am, 100%.”
Ashwin Willemse, former South Africa rugby player, added: “Without rugby, and the incredible support of my teammates and family, I most probably would have ended up either in prison or in a coffin six foot under. What they taught me is that we can defy the odds, we can be better than we ever imagined, all you need in life is just a small little light that can give you a new direction, and that for me was rugby.”
The brand has also launched a limited-edition rugby-themed glassware promotion which will feature on special 10-packs of Guinness. There are six different glasses to collect, each with a unique name associated with rugby, with 300,000 packs available to stores.