A Nuneaton rugby club is looking to capitalise on the success of a community programme aiming to introduce more of the town’s young people to the sport.
Around 50 school pupils from across Nuneaton recently visited Nuneaton Old Edwardians RFC on Weddington Road for the first time to take part in a training session with Wasps players Guy Thompson and Ben Harris.
The youngsters were invited to the session after taking part in Project Rugby – a programme created by Premiership Rugby and England Rugby to increase the number of under-represented groups involved in the sport.
Andy Smith, community development officer at Wasps, has been involved with the local delivery of the programme alongside coaches from Nuneaton Old Edwardians.
He said: “Over the past year we’ve delivered after-school rugby classes to 100 children across nine schools in Nuneaton, 60 per cent of whom had never picked up a rugby ball or watched a rugby match before.
“To have around 50 kids wanting to spend their free time playing rugby at the weekend is really encouraging for the future of the game in the town, and is just rewards for the dedicated coaches that have put on these after-school rugby classes for the past year.
“The hope now is that these children will continue to feed their appetite for the sport by finding a grassroots club to play for.”
Ged O’Neill, junior academy chairman at Nuneaton Old Edwardians which has teams from under 7s to under 18s, is set to add several new players from these training sessions to the ranks.
“Project Rugby has provided a fantastic opportunity for boys and girls to play and train in a club environment and join Nuneaton Old Edwardians to become fully-fledged club rugby players,” he said.
“At Old Eds players receive coaching from RFC level two coaches and in due course take part in games as a club player.
“Many boys already have the opportunity to play in regular fixtures and, working in collaboration with other Warwickshire clubs, we will soon be able to provide girls with game time.”
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