Leicester Tigers have assembled a varied and enthusiastic Urban Rugby Squad for the National Tag Rugby Festival final on Monday, says community coach Sam Swift.
Premiership Rugby’s Urban Rugby Squad programme is a ground-breaking initiative which continues to see 1,000 young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England participating in regular sporting activity and personal development workshops.
These workshops use rugby as inspiration on areas including anger management, drugs/alcohol misuse, sexual health and physical fitness assessment.
Premiership Rugby’s fantastic programme in partnership with BT Sport’s The Supporters Club, and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players’ Association, will be showcased in a National Tag Rugby Festival on Monday 26th October at Twickenham Stoop.
In preparation for the festival, the Tigers community team visited Fullhurst Community College, City of Leicester School, Beaumont Leys School to recruit youngsters who are new to the sport.
And while the whole squad has impressed Swift, its two female members – 15-year-olds Amna Suleman and Namrata Vyas – have perhaps caught the eye more than most.
“The girls have impressed me so much,” said Swift. “They had never encountered rugby before but they are probably our best players in terms of the rules and versatility.
“They may not be as athletic as the boys but they have read the game well.
“We originally planned to set up four hubs but we managed to get three in schools. We wanted to offer it to schools that don’t have a rugby team instead of around a rugby school.
“We then had assemblies at the schools and it went from there, it has had an amazing response. In the team we only have one player who has played rugby before.”
The big day begins at Richmond College at 11am. The two Semi-Finals (at 3.45pm) and the Final (4.15pm) are then on the main pitch at the Twickenham Stoop, where entry is free and all are welcome to attend.
“I think the team will do well at the event,” added Swift. “It sort of fell on my radar it was nice to be a part of that side. I understand the differences it can make in terms of discipline and excitement.
“It was nice to coach some rugby and to coach kids who were interested in it, who wanted to learn a new sport and be involved.”
“We haven’t got too many plans going forward, but we know a few of them have joined rugby clubs since we started and I will put them in touch with the right clubs.
“Especially with the two girls as they have little options we would be quite keen for them to all join and I will do as much as can to help them with finding a right club.”
For more information about Urban Rugby Squad run in partnership with BT Sport’s The Supporters Club and Restart Rugby including how to get involved, please visit premiershiprugby.com/UrbanRugbySquad.
Leicester Tigers Urban Rugby Squad: Ben Watson (16), Abdul Karim (16), Dan Loveridge (15), Morgan Jones (15), Colby Oxlade (15), Amna Suleman (15), Taylor Timson (15), Namrata Vyas (15), Brad Munemo (15), Ricardo Guyo (15), Jai Moore (15)