Rugby World Cup: The marcoms lowdown on the Group C contenders

The Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off on Friday. Here's our lowdown on the social media, storylines and sponsorship for Group C's contenders: New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.

New Zealand

Social weigh-in: Twitter: @AllBlacks - 484,000 followers, Facebook: All Blacks - 3.18 million likes, Instagram: @allblacks - 236,000 followers

Star player: The All Blacks team is filled with superstars but the main man is still veteran captain Richie McCaw. He’s the most capped player in rugby union with 142 appearances - but eschews social media, with no (official) Facebook or Twitter presence.

Sin bin: Former All Blacks star Ali Williams faced widespread criticism after a recent interview with French newspaper L'Equipe where he made disparaging remarks about English rugby and its fans. "If the English, the only team nobody wants to see win, win this World Cup, it will be a dark day," he said. Williams took to Twitter to distance himself from the comments - claiming his words were "lost in translation".

Fair play: Utility back Ryan Crotty joined a number of celebrity "official supporters" of the All Blacks in this single for the team's charity partner Cure Kids.

In the posh seats: Adidas is the team's premier sponsor, responsible for making the iconic kit, and is also running the #forceofblack social campaign. Other sponsors include AIG, Steinlager, Coca Cola and Ford. A special mention must also go to Air New Zealand for this excellent Men in Black style parody involving the players rapping safety instructions.


Social weigh-in: Twitter: @unionargentina - 98,000 followers, Facebook: Unión Argentina de Rugby - 3,942, Instagram: @unionargentina - 50,600 followers

Star player: Juan Martin Hernandez, known as "El Mago" ("The Magician"), has a dazzling array of kicking skills, which allows him to not only score points but create chances. Such is his star power, that he’s fronting TV ads in his homeland.

Sin bin: Argentina's fans have come under criticism for shining laser pointers into opponents' eyes during match.

Fair play: Argentina's players clearly know their history. Before Che Guevara became a global icon as a freedom fighter and revolutionary, the Argentine was a keen rugby player and reportedly among the country's first rugby journalists. A Telegraph article in 2007 said that the captain at the time Agustin Pichot used Guevara for inspiration, saying: "I see a direct link between his love of rugby and our love of rugby and his desire to see change and our desire to see change."

In the posh seats: Visa, which has supported the national team since 1996, alongside Nike, Argentine telco group Personal, and broadcasters DirectTV Sport and ESPN.


Social weigh-in Twitter: @officialTongaRU - 2,480 followers, Facebook: Tonga Rugby Union - 9,563 likes Instagram: officialtongarugby - 1,000 followers

Star player: Tonga will be relying the pacey Fetu’u Vainikolo, who has scored five tries in 10 appearances this season. While very active on Twitter, he keeps his Instagram profile private - although occasionally tweets links to it, giving fans a sneak preview of what only his chosen followers can see.

Sin bin: Discipline is a weakness for the Tongans - a risk not just on the field but also off it, as it risks alienating fans and potential sponsors.

Fair play: Tonga has been spending plenty of time getting to know the English locals and spreading the rugby love as part of official tournament functions.

In the posh seats: As a relative minnow, Tonga doesn’t have many high-profile sponsors. The primary sponsors are the Tonga Government and Tonga Power LTD. Land Rover also sponsored a warm-up match between Tonga and Nottingham. The team also paid a visit to department store House of Fraser this week.


Social weigh-in: Twitter: @GeorgiaRugby - 4,900 followers, Facebook: Georgian National Rugby Team - 173,000 likes, Instagram: officialgeorgiarugby - 179 followers

Star player: Mamuka Gorgodze, dubbed "Gorgodzilla" is a 6ft 5in man-mountain who has been getting plenty of attention.

Sin bin: Beautiful though Georgian script is, there is no auto-translate function on Twitter or Facebook, meaning the team may struggle to connect with fans of other nations via the social network - to combat this the Georgian Rugby Union now has an English language account.

Fair play: In November last year the Georgian Rugby Union hosted a charity match between Georgia and Japan at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi dedicated to ending violence against women and girls - not the first time that Georgia has put its weight behind anti-domestic violence efforts.

In the posh seats: The most well-known sponsor of the Georgian national team is the kitmaker Under Armour. Other sponsors include the the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Natakhtari beer and VTB bank.


Social media weigh-in: Twitter: @RugbyNamibia - 2,000 followers, Facebook: Namibia Rugby Union - 5,000 likes

Star player: A number of the team including one of its most recognisable faces Jacques Burger have lent their support to #pass2protect, a viral Twitter campaign for Anti-Slavery Day to raise awareness of human trafficking.

Sin bin: In four appearances at this tournament the team has yet to win a Rugby World Cup game, and lost 142-0 to Australia in 2003.

Fair play: Namibia Rugby Union participates in the global Get Into Rugby programme. This focuses on development level where schools, teachers and coaches are encouraged to involve young children in the sport.

Get-Into-Rugby reaches 8,000 mark in year twoGROWING THE GAMEThe IRB Get Into Rugby (GIR) programme is part of the...

Posted by Namibia Rugby Union on Tuesday, 16 September 2014

In the posh seats: Namibia’s three partners include gold producer AngloGold Ashanti, car dealer Auas Motors and urban clothing vendor Streethouse.

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