A teenager from Crediton is urging more girls to get involved with rugby after campaigning to get the sport into her school’s curriculum as part of Premiership Rugby’s Rugby4All programme.
Rugby4All is Premiership Rugby's innovative programme backed by Department of Culture, Media and Sport, in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission,
The programme aims to promote diversity and equality in rugby, increase the number of women and girls involved in the sport, provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups.
And it is the focus on involving more females in the sport that 15-year-old Sarah Nathan targeted when she got rugby onto the curriculum at her school, Queen Elizabeth Academy.
Sarah finds rugby is the perfect escape from school life and believes many more girls could also benefit if they gave the sport a go.
“Rugby is such an important part of my life because for me it is a way to relieve stress from my GCSEs and every other thing that comes with daily life,” Sarah said.
“It is massively social, I meet all my friends down there and if you said to me six years ago that you will be playing rugby or be in two national finals I would have said no way."
See Sarah’s story here:
Sarah represented Exeter Chiefs as a Rugby4All ambassador at last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, coaching and refereeing tag rugby games on the pitch. At the Final, Sarah met other Rugby4All ambassadors from around the country, an experience which energised her even more to spread the power of rugby back at home and encourage her friends to take up the game.
She added: “Getting rugby on to my school’s curriculum was massive for my under-13s coaching group, They were really passionate and felt strongly about how it wasn’t on the curriculum and I felt it was important to fight for their view because at least they have had a chance to experience that and find out whether it is something they want to do or not.
“Rugby is a sport that both young girls and boys can play, it is for every ethnicity, every person with a different background, and anyone who wants to do it.
“I would 100 per cent encourage girls to give rugby a go and see what they can get out of it and see how it effects them for good.”
Delivered by Premiership Rugby clubs, the programme aims to recruit and train 240 BAME coaches while in high BAME communities, 1,800 primary school children will be given opportunities to try rugby, and there will be taster sessions for 600 11-15 year olds with 240 of them progressing into a player development programme.
The new programme will also provide 7,200 secondary school girls with the chance to play rugby, and support female players to join local rugby clubs.
In addition, 480 teachers and volunteers will be trained to support the growth of girls rugby, and Premiership Rugby's Inclusion and Equalities Executive Tim Mathias insists Sarah has shown the way.
“Premiership Rugby’s Rugby4All programme is backed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and run in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The programme is bringing rugby to all the under-represented groups and that includes ethnic minorities, women and girls but also disabled spectators as well,” he said.
“Sarah has shown me a really inspiring story of spreading the game of rugby throughout her year group and providing many more opportunities for young girls in the area.”
For more information about the Rugby4All programme including how to get involved, please visit premiershiprugby.com/rugby4all