The Ospreys have teamed up with Swansea College to create an exciting partnership with Swansea College Sports Department that will provide students with the skills to coach tag rugby to WRU approved standards.
Since the partnership began in January, 40 college students, both male and female have already been put through their paces by Ospreys and WRU Development staff and have achieved a tag rugby leaders award, which they have since used to provide local primary schools with much needed assistance in introducing tag rugby to year 3 children.
In total 17 schools have taken part in the initiative to date, with over 400 children given the opportunity to experience rugby for the first time. Every school was also provided with the opportunity to attend a festival, where they could meet and play against children from other schools.
Swansea College Sports Development Manager, Rob Baynham said:
"The tag rugby initiative between Swansea College and the Ospreys has provided a superb opportunity for sports students to get 'hands on' coaching experience across local primary schools. This experience helps them to develop as coaches with many of these students aiming to train as PE teachers when they leave college. The scheme has been an excellent example of collaboration, with different organisations working together to provide opportunities for the students and primary school children."
The initiative has proved to be a really worthwhile exercise with teachers also learning about rugby and developing skills that previously they hadn't had. Many teachers have commented that they have picked up new ideas to use during lessons.
As well as providing the students with opportunities and experiences it was also an opportunity for them to show their coaching capabilities. There was a chance also for students who progressed and showed a passion for coaching to progress onto the next stage and earn a free level 1 coaching award, along with the new rugby ready award.
Ospreys Development Officer Gary Clement said: "A key strategy for the continued growth of the Ospreys is our work in the community, developing stronger links with schools and clubs in the region and introducing as many people as possible to the game of rugby under the Ospreys banner, be that playing the game or as a supporter. By linking up with Swansea College for this partnership, we are enabling more children than ever to experience rugby for the first time, as well as providing students with additional skills that will help them with their long term career goals.
Four students earned the right to a free level 1 coaching award because of their obvious passion and ability. Tom Sloane of Mumbles rugby club has already completed his Level 1 award and Ben John, Chris Banfield (both Ospreys U18s) and Joe Beddow, all of Lougher RFC will be completing the coaching award at the end of June. Tom and Chris have both really stood out over the coaching period and have subsequently been working closely in the community with us; they have built up a lot of experience already and are proving both quality and reliability in what they are delivering."
With the support of the Sports Council for Wales Sportsmatch Scheme and from Ospreys Community Sponsors npower renewables, John West Foods, Warburtons and Morfa Partnership, the first year of the initiative has been a real success; the hope is that this initiative will continue next year and both students and primary school children will reap the benefits of it.