Hundreds of Ospreylian schoolchildren are participating in a series of special rugby festivals being hosted at the region’s Llandarcy HQ throughout January and February.
Hosted by the WRU/Ospreys Community Rugby team, the festivals see the schools taking over the state of the art 3G pitch and the indoor training facility at Llandarcy on five successive Friday’s as the Participation Officers encourage youngsters to develop a lifelong passion for rugby.
Primary and Comprehensive Schools from the length and breadth of the region will be represented, from Year 3 right the way through to Year 9. There will be a mix of tag competitions, atomic touch, and full contact rugby, allowing boys and girls of all abilities to experience the thrills of playing rugby with their friends - many of them for the first time.
Ben Rose, WRU Regional Development Manager for the Ospreys region, said the festivals were part of a wider strategy to grow participation numbers across the region.
“Llandarcy is going to be a very busy place on Friday’s over the next few weeks with more than 40 schools taking part between now and the end of February” said Rose.
“The aim of the festivals is to encourage children to play rugby, and to increase the number of youngsters actively involved in the game. From Year 3’s playing touch right the way up to full contact for Year 9, which is U14s, there are hundreds of children of all abilities going to be participating which is fantastic news.
“For many of those taking part it will be their first experience of playing rugby against other schools, but the point to stress is that this isn’t about being competitive. It’s about giving these children the chance to try out rugby in a safe environment with their friends, and hopefully sparking a lifelong passion for the game.
“The Ospreys are all about development from within, of players, coaches and administrators, and that starts right here, with young children picking up a ball for the first time. Along with some of the other initiatives in place to encourage participation, led by both the Ospreys and the WRU, and projects such as the Ospreys Schools Programme and the Clubs and Schools Ticketing Initiative, we are engaging with the local community and encouraging youngsters to enjoy rugby, both playing and watching. This can only be positive for the long-term health of rugby in Wales.”
The events are supported by both Neath Port Talbot College and Swansea Metropolitan University as another sign of the the Ospreys commitment to developing youngsters . Up to 40 students from NPT will be given mentoring on the planning and organisation of events, while volunteers from the University will assist with the delivery of the festivals.
Click here to take a look at our Facebook gallery from the first festivals, for primary school Year 5 & 6 pupils, which took place last Friday (24th January).