Rugby Utah Partners With GoPlay Tours For Rugby Cultural Exchange Programs

Rugby Utah Partners With GoPlay Tours For Rugby Cultural Exchange Programs


Rugby Utah Press Release


First joint effort will be a Summer GoPlay branded program in New Zealand hosted by world famous players and coaches.

March 6, 2016 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Rugby Utah, the state’s officially recognized Geographic Rugby Organization announced today it has entered into an exclusive agreement with GoPlay tours, a division of ACIS Educational Travel of Boston, MA and one of the leading companies in the Study Abroad industry. The purpose of the partnership is to develop international cultural exchange programs allowing student-athletes to receive training in Rugby-rich locations such as the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

“This is a wonderful collaboration between two leaders in their respective fields,” said Malcolm Hood, former New Zealand All Blacks physiotherapist and Rugby Utah’s “ambassador at large” for international bridge building. “Rugby Utah has forged alliances with some of the most prestigious players, coaches and clubs in the world and they are therefore is in a unique position to promote in-country training among student athletes at a standard of professionalism that’s truly is one of a kind.”

The partnership between Rugby Utah and GoPlay comes at a time when interest among student athletes in Rugby is at an all time high and Rugby participation is growing at double digits among high school and college-age participants across the nation with the state of Utah leading the US in growth and participation.

“We find ourselves in the eye of the global Rugby storm, as the world awaits the much-anticipated return of Rugby Sevens to the Rio Olympics and students around the world wanting Rugby as part of their educational experience,” said Ken Rivera, CEO of Rugby Utah. “We are excited to enter into this partnership with GoPlay and ACIS, one of the most progressive companies in the cultural exchange space.”

In the announcement this morning, Rivera made mention of three phases for the partnership. In the short term, the development of a Summer 2016 program to be located in New Zealand. Following the launch of the Summer 2016 program, the partnership will focus on the development of both outbound and inbound cultural exchange programs for players, coaches, and referees. Outbound referring to study abroad programs for US students and inbound referring to study and play in the USA programs for students located in other Rugby playing countries. Longer term, the partnership hopes to develop deeper associations with leading colleges and universities across the world to promote a global inter-scholastic study and play program focused on Rugby.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Rugby Utah,” said Darren Lyons, program Director for GoPlay Tours and ACIS. “We have long recognized the growth and popularity of Rugby among our students and now we have the ability to leverage the outstanding relationships Rugby Utah has forged with some of the world’s most prestigious teams, players and coaches and provide them with a Rugby program second to none — the opportunity of living and playing in Rugby’s most important host countries mentored by some of the sport’s most elite players
and coaches.”

Ken Rivera, CEO Rugby Utah and the official spokesperson for the partnership is expected to make additional announcements in the next few days in Las Vegas against the backdrop of the USA Sevens, the largest International Rugby Event held in the United States.

About Rugby Utah:

Rugby Utah is the official Recognized Geographic Rugby Organization for USA Rugby and is focused on aggregating the strengths of rugby in the state of Utah, from the youth to the elite levels. The goal of RUV is to unify rugby within the state while also developing commercial interests to build the country’s finest training facilities, promote the most elite rugby events, and to develop the rugby lifestyles brands necessary to strengthen America’s rugby culture. For more information, visit

About GoPlay Tours:

GoPlay Tours is a division of The American Council for International Studies (ACIS). Since 1978 ACIS has been a leader in quality educational travel for middle and high school students and their teachers dedicated to bringing history and culture to life. For more information, visit

Contact: Kimball Kjar
Rugby Utah Ventures, LLC
Phone: +011 801-979-3166

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant