The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has today announced it will host a four-day event at London’s Trafalgar Square, to showcase a number of its programmes encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in rugby. The event, supported by the Mayor of London, will take place from Monday 26th until Thursday 29th October and forms part of the RFU’s legacy strategy to grow the game in this country.
Former England Rugby World Cup winners Jason Robinson, Jason Leonard and Lewis Moody and players from Aviva Premiership clubs London Irish, Harlequins and Wasps will join school children and club rugby players, at one of London’s most iconic locations, to play and coach rugby. Trafalgar Square will be transformed into a rugby friendly location, featuring a purpose-built, astroturf rugby pitch and rugby-themed games and information area.
Activities will take place each day from 10.00 – 17.00 and the general public are invited to come down and get involved. Whether it’s playing in a friendly game of O2 Touch Rugby or joining in a taster referee session, there’s something for everyone to take part in or learn about.
- Monday 26th October – All Schools supported by CBRE. Launched in September 2012, All Schools aims to increase the number of secondary state schools playing rugby union. It is currently working with 400 schools, with the aim of extending the number to 750 by the time of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
- Tuesday 27th October – O2 Touch. There is a form of rugby for everyone, young and old, male and female and O2 Touch provides a great entry point to the sport, where you can have fun no matter what your ability. The non-contact version of the sport can be played at one of 275 O2 Touch centres and 16 leagues set up around the country. O2 Touch has a target of registering 15,000 players by 2017.
- Wednesday 28th & Thursday 29th October – Keep Your Boots On is designed to raise awareness of opportunities to stay involved in rugby through refereeing and coaching. Since 2013 the RFU, in partnership with QBE Insurance, has trained 2,015 new Level 2 coaches via the QBE Coaching Club. Return To Rugby is a programme running in rugby clubs to encourage former players to return to the game, aiming to bring 5,000 players back through specially designed coaching and social rugby sessions.
- Thursday 29th October – Rugby Women is a scheme aiming to attract an additional 10,000 females into rugby. The key focus is encouraging females into the sport with inclusive, enjoyable and informative sessions, whether they’re brand new to rugby, a sofa supporter or a returning player. Over 150 clubs are working in partnership to deliver sessions designed to build confidence in contact and fitness, while providing a playing field for women and girls to discover what makes them strong.
Premiership Rugby will also showcase Rugby4All on Wednesday 28th Oct – an innovative, nationwide, programme to promote diversity and equality in rugby. The programme aims to increase the number of women and girls involved in the sport, to provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. The programme aims to provide 7,200 secondary school girls with the chance to play rugby, and support female players to join local rugby clubs. In addition, 480 teachers and volunteers will be trained to support the growth of girls’ rugby.
Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, said: “As Rugby World Cup 2015 reaches its exciting climax, our event in Trafalgar Square is a great opportunity for us to show some of the foundations we’ve put in place over the past three years to bring new people into the game, inspire those that have left to return and to ensure that those involved enjoy the best possible experience of rugby.
“We want rugby to be among England’s strongest sports, with clubs thriving and participation at an all-time high, to create a lasting legacy for generations to come. We are determined to keep the momentum going and will continue to work with our partners to encourage more people to get involved in our sport.
“Rugby World Cup 2015 has inspired people across the country to get involved in the game both on and off the field. So if you’ve drifted away from the sport we’d love to you have back. And if you’ve never played before then we’d love you to come and give it a try. If you want to join in by volunteering, you’d be really welcome. You’ll have experiences and friends that will last a lifetime.”
For more information please visit the Find Rugby website.
Report courtesy of England Rugby