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The Team

Well now, if you've come visiting The Team, you're either very curious or lost! Whatever the case, here's those crazy enough to get involved to bring you the amazing publication Rugby Unplugged!

If you'd like to email any one of us, just click on the photo and hopefully, technology permitting, a pre-addressed email will pop up.


Contact Preeti

PREETI VIRDEE

EDITOR

TWO startling events took place at the beginning of the 21st Century: England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup and Preeti Virdee arrived in earnest on the rugby scene. To begin with, she gained invaluable experience in a core rugby skill required to appreciate the sport and succeed in the industry by launching the rugby-favourite wine bar Harrington’s On The Green in Twickenham – of course this experience required the ability to drink pretty much everyone under the table! The natural progression of course was to get involved with her greatest passion – England Rugby, which she did by taking on the role of advertising manager for England Rugby magazine for the RFU, as well as launching Scotland Rugby magazine for the SRU. So having acquired the necessary skills, she then moved on to Rugby For the Girls as journalist, media manager and co-editor.

Prior to that, having been subjected to public school in the form of both the Old Vicarage prep school in Richmond, followed by the Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton, and then some bright sparks at University awarding her a degree in Economics, she concluded that the way forward had to be in the fine art of marketing – trying to become a legend in her own lunchtime. She has been a marketing professional since 1994 in a number of industries with companies including Tarmac Professional Services and Comshare. However, after discovering that rugby on Planet Earth was seriously lacking in the lifestyle department, she decided to fill the gap with Rugby Unplugged.

If you do not find Preeti eating, breathing, talking or watching rugby, please check – she might not have a pulse.

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Contact Tony

TONY ROCHE

ROCHEY'S RANT

BORN, Wexford, Ireland, 1949.

Began on weekly Barnet Press followed by Hendon Times, Watford Evening Echo, Hayters Fleet Street Sports Agency, IPC Magazines. Freelance for seven years on Sunday Mirror, Daily Mirror, The Times and London Evening News.

Joined Today as rugby correspondent in 1986 and moved to The Sun as rugby correspondent in 1995. Covered all World Cups since inaugural 1987 tournament, six Lions tours and more than 300 internationals around the globe, 233 of them involving England.

His involvement with Rugby Unplugged came about from meeting the Editor at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, where she became his personal red wine bootlegger smuggling numerous bottles into various stadiums across France, mostly courtesy of Eurostar!

Since Rochey is infamous for his choice opinions on global rugby [amongst other things], it would have been entirely churlish to not make use of this his centuries of experience and knowledge buried somewhere under case or two of vintage.

Hobbies: Rugby, red wine and raging at the Moon.

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Sara JonesSARA JONES

RUGBY AFFICIONADO

IT would be fair to say that Sara loves her sport. Sara and Preeti went to school together back in the day, then hooked up again recently over their mutual love of rugby. Sara was fortunate enough to land her dream job as Research Director at LOCOG from 2010 – 2012, helping to deliver the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Otherwise, for her sins, she has spent the rest of last fifteen years or so working in the public sector.

Sara has enjoyed a wide variety of sports over the years, both as a spectator and a participant. She is an ex-international lacrosse player, but has also tried her hand at netball, swimming, cycling, fencing, bob-sleighing and abseiling among others. These days she’s recently got back into running and is considering a triathlon in 2015.

In rugby terms, as well as regularly attending club rugby and a multitude of 6 Nations fixtures and other internationals, Sara has followed the Lions to South Africa and been to a range of matches across the last four Rugby World Cups - indeed, she was actually there in the Telstra Stadium in Sydney to see Lord Jonny of Wilkinson slot THAT drop goal. Other sporting events around the world that Sara has ticked off her list so far include Champions League Final in Moscow, Ryder Cup golf, various cricket internationals, World Ski Jumping in Germany and the World Darts Championship at Lakeside.

Sara has an opinion on most things, and is usually happy to discuss them over a pint or two of cider. And, before you ask, that’s a proper pint of cider, thanks - not a namby-pamby, overpriced, advertised product for Johnny-come-latelys. Cheers!

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Lynnie FarrantLYNNIE FARRANT

RESIDENT PETROLHEAD

BORN into a motoring family, Lynnie is a natural petrolhead.

Despite the best efforts of her mother and a ‘naice’ all girls’ school, the aroma of four star had more appeal than the scent of Chanel during her formative years and Top Gear rather than Vogue was her reading matter of choice.

Her career in motoring journalism began with a visit to the Earls’ Court Motor Show when she pestered the editor of a monthly magazine for work experience. A few months spent washing cars for photo shoots and assisting in road tests at windswept airfields led to a full time writing role.

From the off she was allowed in the driving seat and has the caché of being one of the first women to drive the then-new Lotus Elise and the BMW Z3 on an epic road trip through Portugal, Spain and France.

When the title sadly folded she went over to the dark side, working in the press office for a major car manufacturer, while still continuing as a freelance writer for The Evening Standard, The FT and a host of lifestyle titles.

After moving into motorsport and sports PR with Yamaha Grand Prix and The Championships, Wimbledon, the lure of the typewriter was too strong, so she became a reporter for a sports business website, grilling the great and the good of the sports world, including rugby’s own Bernard Lapasset. She was one of the first journalists to break the news when Rugby 7s was voted onto the Olympic programme for the 2016 games.

Although rallying may have the edge over rugby for Lynnie, she is still an enthusiastic visitor to The Stoop, though with her French blood, her allegiance can be torn at times between England and Les Bleus(!)

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Contact Zoe GriffinZOE GRIFFIN

SHOWBIZ QUEEN

ZOE GRIFFIN is an entertainment journalist and author of 'Get Rich Blogging' who can party and still remember enough to write about it the following day.

All this led to her being made a finalist for London Personality Of The Year and for her own showbiz news website LiveLikeAVIP.com to win Best Celebrity blog in the Cosmopolitan magazine blog awards.Live Like A VIP

However, it’s not all about the awards – it’s about digging up the gossip and getting to the heart of a story. Zoe’s spade is sharp as she trained at The Daily Telegraph before moving to deputy columnist at the Mail on Sunday then editor of a double page showbiz spread in thelondonpaper. Between 2007-2009, she was transported to the likes of Rihanna, Madonna and Mariah  - so famous they only need a first name – when she dropped the Griffin and had a two page column about celebrities in the Sunday Mirror.

In a corporate, image obsessed industry, Zoe hid her passion for rugby, but now she’s out and loud and proud to get more people to admit rugby is cool. Wanna know what a certain celeb thinks about rugby or whether a star secretly supports a certain team? Zoe’s on mission to find out!

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Contact JoJO WALLWORK

STALWART

HAVING been schooled at the highly regarded Francis Holland public school in the heart of Central London, this Sloane Ranger moved to the Midlands to finish off her full time education at Loughborough University, graduating with a Civil Engineering degree. She returned to her beloved London and became a transport consultant, in 2003 a colleague introduced her to Preeti. After 7 years of hassle from friends about the state of the roads and how she shouldn’t be helping with the introduction of bus lanes she decided that a new challenge was needed.

So with a post grad Diploma in Management Studies and Prince 2 tucked under her belt she took a job at Turner and Townsend Ltd, as a construction Project Manager. As most people do she took a well deserved holiday between jobs and was joined on this by RU’s Editor and Chief Miss Virdee. On one particularly relaxed day whilst lying on a lounger being served VERY large G & Ts by an attentive Tunisian bar man these two discussed how Preeti didn’t want to write for anyone else and what she could do about it….4 days and a ream of paper later Rugby Unplugged was conceived.

So apart from looking pretty as part of the integral furniture of Rugby Unplugged, Jo has been known to be found sitting on the sidelines of rugby pitches and at press conferences taking photos of the beautiful players, formerly in England but now cosily ensconced in Ireland. Since 2013 she can now regularly be found reporting in the press box at Dublin's Aviva Stadium, or sharing a small libation with the legendary George Hook.

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Contact Media Dept

HELEN BAYES

PR GURU

AFTER years of protesting to her father that she really didn't want to watch rugby, this Somerset girl (sans accent!) was finally seduced by the game whilst studying within a stone's throw of the Tiger's lair at De Montfort University in Leicester. In a city that eats, breathes and sleeps rugby, it was hard not to develop an appreciation for the game (and the lovely men that play it!).

A BA Hons in English and Film was followed by an MA in Public Relations (with a lot of hockey being played in between). A chance email led to a months work experience within the Press and PR department at Bath Rugby, led to Helen falling even more in love with the game (possibly verging on the obsessive) and a whole new career path being opened up to her.

Come August, a season long internship with Harlequins began, and after one of the most exhilarating seasons imaginable, Helen moved back home to the countryside to get some much needed fresh air!

And now...well Bath Rugby being the sharp outfit that they are...grabbed Helen at their first opportunity to run the Premiership side's Media Department.

She advises on the PR for Rugby Unplugged.

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