London Irish’s Urban Rugby Squad are primed and ready for the National Tag Rugby Festival but community coach Oliver Heald says they’ve laid down roots designed to last in the local community.
Premiership Rugby’s fantastic Urban Rugby Squad programme in partnership with BT Sport’s The Supporters Club, and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) will be showcased in a National Tag Rugby Festival on Monday 26th October.
The big day begins at Richmond College at 11am. The two Semi-Finals (at 3.45pm) and the Final (4.15pm) are on the main pitch at the Twickenham Stoop where an Urban Rugby Squad will have been selected to represent each Premiership Rugby side. Entry is free at the Twickenham Stoop and all are welcome to attend.
And through their existing partnership with Tadley Tigers, who are based in Berkshire, many of the children involved in the scheme have already got one eye on continuing with life after Urban Rugby Squad.
Boys and girls from all types of backgrounds are mixing well at the Exiles and Heald says rugby could prove a vital tool for many years to come for each and every youngster.
“We work all over Berkshire and Hampshire and we also work with a few schools down in Bournemouth,” he said
“The two girls Molly Kirby and Alicia Bush, both from Tadley have impressed me the most. They have never played rugby before. Molly when she first came to the club was very quiet and tame but once gets on the rugby field she is probably one of our best players.
“She has came on leaps and bounds and Alicia who comes along with Molly is the same, she started off very quiet but now both of them have started off having more banter with the boys and settling in well.
“Many of the boys have already transferred into Tadley Tigers. As they are a partner we have helped them develop their XVs side.
“However, as well as transferring players into the team we help out with the players at the club that is already there.
“We will help all the players as much as we can to keep playing in the sport.”
The 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 that use rugby as inspiration on areas including anger management, drugs/alcohol misuse, sexual health and physical fitness assessment.
And Heald is confident that his charges will show just how much they’ve learned already from the scheme on Monday.
“I think if the team plays with confidence and they do not get overwhelmed by the experience then I think they will do very well,” he added.
“They gel really well as a team and play some get attacking rugby.”
The Urban Rugby Squad is a ground-breaking new initiative run by Premiership Rugby and its clubs which has seen hundreds of young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England participate in regular sporting activity and personal development. The programme has received substantial backing from BT Sport, through its charitable initiative The Supporters Club and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players' Association (RPA). A documentary about the Urban Rugby Squad is on BT Sport 1 on 1 November. For more details see premiershiprugby.com/UrbanRugbySquad.
Urban Rugby Squad: Harrison Bowles, Josh Cable, Chris Cooper, Louis Coppi, Connor Hanley, Josh Knowles, Domonic Mills, Jack O’Gorman, Ben Potter, Tristan Smith, Archie Worth, Molly Kirby, Alicia Bush