North Wales Rugby Public Flock To Festival

More than 250 young rugby players participated in specially designed coaching clinics hosted by Ospreys players at Rhyl RFC at the weekend.

The sessions were the highlight of the second RWE npower renewables North Wales Rugby Festival which took place on Saturday, with children from local rugby clubs picking up tips in specialised areas such as the tackle and contact area, passing, kicking, line-outs and mauling.

Prior to the coaching clinics, the whole squad also participated in a full training session in front of the watching crowd, with Director of Coaching Scott Johnson putting the players through their paces. The squad went through a series of warm-ups before practising set moves and skills in front of an appreciative audience who enjoyed the rare opportunity to watch the players in training at close range.

For the coaching clinics, the children, who ranged in age from 7 through to 15, were split up into groups based on their age, and allocated a group of Ospreys who then run them through a particular session for 15 minutes at which point, they moved onto another group, allowing the youngsters to enjoy a different session concentrating on a different area of the game.

In the afternoon local clubs from Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Nant Conwy and Llandudno competed in a sevens tournament for the RWE npower renewables Cup - eventually won by Rhyl RFC for the 2nd consecutive year - with the silverware being presented by Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore, along with Welsh internationals Dan Biggar, Richard Hibbard and Craig Mitchell.

The whole squad also spent time mingling with the crowds, signing autographs and posing for pictures throughout the day, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the day.

Speaking about the event, Andrew Hore said:

"It was a really successful day all round, with a great turn out from the North Wales rugby public. The event is certainly a popular one that shows the real appetite that there is for rugby in the area and we are honoured to be a part of what is becoming established as one of the biggest days in the North Wales rugby calendar.

"The response to the event was incredible, with hundreds of people watching the open training session, before the young kids got the chance to receive coaching from the players which was clearly the most popular part of the day. To see so many young players having fun, picking up tips and clearly enjoying their rugby was great to see, hopefully the experience will drive them on to stick with the game over the years to come.

"Speaking to people at the event from the various clubs involved, they are extremely grateful that we attended and said that the kids involved had been looking forward to the day for weeks. That's great to hear as we want to encourage and play a part in as many youngsters developing a passion for rugby as possible, it will benefit the game in Wales as a whole. We are already looking forward to the 2010 RWE npower renewables North Wales Rugby Festival and continuing with the good work of this last two events."

Ospreys prop Cai Griffiths grew up a short distance along the north Wales coast in Bangor and he says that he's proud to be heading back to the area with the region. He said:

"There is a real passion for rugby in the area, something which maybe south Walians don't fully appreciate. I know that the lads who travelled up last year had a bit of an eye-opener and I think it's the same for the new boys who came up this year.

"Having grown up and played my first rugby in the area, it's great that I'm now in a position to give something back, via the Ospreys and our sponsors RWE npower renewables who organised the festival. It was great to see so many children attending and we really enjoyed being able to spend time with them in groups, passing on some of our knowledge and hopefully, helping to fire their enthusiasm for the game."

Katy Woodington, Community Investment Officer for RWE npower renewables said: "We are committed to working in partnership with the Ospreys to ensure that the communities in which we operate continue to benefit from our sponsorship as it enters it 5th year through events such as the north Wales festival.

"We are delighted with the success of this year's rugby festival and thank all those that attended for helping to make it such a fantastic day.
"In conjunction with the festival we were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit to Ysgol Craig y Don, and work in partnership with the Voluntary Council for Wales to complete the beach clean at Prestatyn.

"Special thanks go to Rhyl RFC for once again hosting the event and to all the volunteers at local clubs who contributed to the day."