NPT Schools celebrate Rugby World Cup

Over 900 children enjoyed a day of rugby activity at Llandarcy Academy of Sport on Friday in the second of three Rugby World Cup festivals.

28 primary schools from across Neath Port Talbot, over a third of all schools in the county, were signed up to the event, which was hosted jointly by  Ospreys in the Community, Neath Port Talbot College, and the Physical Activity and Sport Service  (PASS) at NPT Council.

The focus of the event was on promoting the benefits of physical activity to children and encouraging rugby participation, with those youngsters who show an interest being signposted towards their local rugby club, as well as the development of communication skills.

Just as with the first festival at Dunvant RFC last month, each school adopted a Rugby World Cup nation, spending time in class researching their country and creating special flags and banners for an opening ceremony. They then kicked off proceedings with a morning of skills development sessions, followed by tag rugby matches in the afternoon.

Paul Whapham, Ospreys in the Community, said:

“Friday’s Rugby World Cup Festival was a tremendous example of three community focused organisations working together in collaboration to host an event that was a resounding success. A lot of hard work went in to ensure that the participating children had a great time, and the students from Neath Port Talbot College are to be commended for their efforts.

“It’s important that we use landmark events such as the World Cup, when the public eye is very much on the game of rugby, to drive physical activity in children and, hopefully, increase rugby participation, growing numbers at our community clubs.”

The festival was facilitated by a team of students who are currently undertaking the BTEC Level 3 Sport Course at Neath Port Talbot College’s Llandarcy campus.

As part of their course the students are required to complete a set amount of voluntary hours coaching in primary school. Having all completed the Active Young People Organiser training with Mark Napierella and his team at PASS, Friday’s festival was the first opportunity this academic year for these students to put their learning into practice.

Barry Roberts, Head of Sport and Public Services, Neath Port Talbot College, said:

“We are delighted to part of this festival which gives young children from the local area the opportunity to showcase their rugby skills in a friendly environment as well as providing an amazing experience for our own students; the sport stars and coaches of the future. 

“With the recent appointment of former Osprey Duncan Jones as NPT Schools' Rugby Officer, the College will continue to work closely with schools and clubs from the area to improve the provision of grassroots rugby, as well as encourage the development of rugby and the transition from school into College through our NPTC Rugby Academy, with the support of the Ospreys.”

Mark Napierella, AYP Co-ordinator, said:

“It was a fantastic day at our Rugby World Cup festival. Schools had been asked to represent their chosen country and they did not disappoint. Flags, banners, kits, singing ,dancing and Hakas were everywhere. The college students organised skills coaching and refereed tag rugby games. The children were active all day, it was a great celebration of rugby and the Rugby World Cup. We hope that the festival will inspire more children in Neath Port Talbot to join their local rugby teams.”