The Ospreys Community Rugby department have come in for some well-deserved praise for their efforts to spread the Ospreys gospel in the Bridgend area over the course of this season.
OSPREYS BRIDGEND COMMUNITY WORK PRAISED
Since last September Gary Clement, Player Development Officer for the area, has been working closely with Cynffig Comprehensive School, providing coaching sessions for pupils with his coaching team. Members of the teaching staff who are involved with the school's rugby sides have also benefited from Gary's assistance, as it has provided them with an opportunity to observe good practice and develop their own coaching skills.
The highlight of the year at the school has been a rugby festival that was attended by more than 120 year seven pupils from Cynffig, Ogmore, Porthcawl, St Clares, Ynysawdre and Llangynwyd schools. They took part in a round robin event that was designed to give children the opportunity to play rugby for the first time, in a non-pressurised environment where the emphasis was on enjoyment rather than winning. In addition to the Ospreys Community team, the event was supported by players Sonny Parker, Mike Phillips, Nikki Walker, Cai Griffiths, Gareth Owen and Kristian Phillips who attended the event to meet the youngsters, sign autographs and to pass on rugby tips to those taking part in the event.
David Howe, Sports Teacher of Cynffig Comprehensive paid tribute to the work that the Community Department have carried out in the school, saying:
"With regard to player development, the coaching sessions that Gary and his team of coaches have delivered have been of extreme benefit to the players who have attended them. In particular, the skills workshops have been very effective and have generated a huge amount of enthusiasm amongst our players. I would also like to mention how improved the talent identification and district selection process has become. This year has proven to be a much more thorough but fair process and this is testament to Gary's efforts in having constant contact with both clubs and schools.
"I would also like to praise Gary for his organisation of the festivals that we have attended including the first one of the year at our school. It was an outstanding success and the pupils who attended are still talking about it now! The presence of the Ospreys players and the chance for our players to meet and ask them questions was an invaluable experience. I would like to extend my gratitude to those players for their time and effort. This event was also a great way to make the pupils feel part of the Ospreys region and identify themselves with the Ospreys brand name.
"Thank you for your time and effort in supporting schools rugby in Bridgend and specifically at our school. I feel that with the continued development of the current programme, Schools Rugby in Wales still has a major role to play in the developing of young talented rugby players."
Jason Lewis, WRU Ospreys Community Development Manager welcomed the comments,
"It is always extremely pleasing to receive such positive feedback for the efforts we are putting in daily across the community to spread the rugby gospel, and in particular, to develop links between the Ospreys and the schools across the region. We are working closely with these clubs and schools to assist them with creating sustainable playing opportunities and to develop the player development pathway so that as well as introducing more youngsters to the game at community level, we are also able to effectively identify and develop the better players as appropriate.
"Gary has done an excellent job working in the schools across the Bridgend district this season, but it is important that we continue to develop further our close working relationship with teachers in the area to support the excellent work that they are already doing, as this can only be of long term benefit to the schools involved, the pupils and teachers who are actively participating in rugby on an ongoing basis, and also, to the Ospreys as we look to strengthen the game across the region at grass roots level."