Saracens winger Nathan Earle hopes Premiership Rugby’s Rugby4All programme will be a major step towards ensuring more ethnic minority players take up the sport.
The 21-year-old was one of four professional players who attended Premiership Rugby’s Rugby4All event in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday.
Rugby4All is an innovative programme which is backed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and run in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The aim is to increase the number of women and girls involved in the sport, to provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups.
Earle said: “Being in the centre of London, you are going to have so many different people come along and it is amazing the Rugby World Cup is here, so hopefully it will help make the kids realise that rugby is a great sport and it is easy to play and we can hopefully really up the participation numbers.
“I am really supportive of the Rugby4All programme. Being black, I am a minority in the sport – albeit one that is growing – so we want to get as many minority players as possible playing to the point that they are no longer considered minorities. That would be awesome.”
Earle is an England Under-20 star and was nominated for the 2014 IRB Junior Player of the Year award.
He missed most of last season due to an Achilles injury but his Sarries team-mates and senior England internationals George Kruis and Richard Wigglesworth have tipped him to break into the Saracens team this season.
Rugby has always been a huge part of Earle’s life, with the former Cranbrook Rugby Club member explaining:
“For me rugby is a family sport. My dad played rugby, my brother played rugby, I play and my little brother plays – plus my mum watches rugby – so we are very much a rugby family.
“I started playing rugby when I was three because I used to go and watch my brother train and got involved – my dad couldn’t stop me.
“For me rugby is one of the few sports that can involve everyone. It doesn’t matter what shape, size, colour or creed you are, what your background is or where you come from – anyone can play.
“I don’t think that rings true for many other sports.”
The Rugby4All event in Trafalgar Square is part of a four-day event hosted by the RFU to showcase a number of its programmes encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in rugby.
The event, supported by the Mayor of London, forms part of the RFU's legacy strategy to grow the game in this country.
For more information about the Rugby4All programme including how to get involved, please visit premiershiprugby.com/rugby4all