TWICKENHAM takes centre stage for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final tomorrow but a rapidly growing audience will be watching from thousands of miles away thanks to Try Rugby Brazil.
The initiative is not only capturing Rugby World Cup fever but building up to 2016’s Olympic Games in Rio, which will see the return of Rugby 7s to the Olympic roster.
The partnership between Premiership Rugby, the British Council and SESI is now in its third year, and has seen the sport flourish across the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina.
More recently the programme has launched in Rio de Janeiro in partnership with Land Rover. This branch of the project will work with 30,000 disadvantaged children, young people and adults from schools, industries and communities across the state of Rio de Janeiro over a 3 year period.
Tens of thousands of young people and adults have taken part in workshops, lessons, coaching education and much more – and the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final will provide another chance for them to learn more about rugby. The activity around the final will range from festivals to live screenings of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina.
Sam Johnston is just one Premiership Rugby community coach who is helping to spread the word in Brazil. Based in Votorantim, São Paulo, he comes into contact with more than 250 rugby-mad kids aged between seven and 14 each week. On the day of the final plans are afoot to show the game in its entirety followed by a tag rugby festival, a Rugby 7s game and adult rugby training to increase understanding of the game among parents.
“With the partnership between Premiership Rugby, the British Council and SESI in Brazil, we've been able to get the resources needed to make this year very successful,” said Johnston. “It has been a pleasure being part of it.
“The Try Rugby programme is going really well and we’re trying to integrate as many different age groups as possible. When you get people completely new to the sport it’s great and we want to tell them about the history and values of rugby as well as the practical side.
“As we get closer to Rio 2016 we want to play more games and use Brazil’s Rugby 7s side as an inspiration, to show that if the kids want to try and aspire to that level of rugby the opportunity is there for them.
“We’re also using Aviva Premiership Rugby-related resources in the classroom as a way of increasing the understanding of the game so they are very excited to have the opportunity to watch the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final.
“Our event during the final will see so many different age groups come together. It will be a very exciting day.”
The Try Rugby programmes objectives are to:
- Help to grow the sport of rugby in Brazil in the lead up to Rio 2016.
- To use rugby as a tool to support the social inclusion of 'at risk' or disadvantaged young people in Brazil and the development of valuable skills such as leadership.
- Build links between the 12 Premiership Rugby clubs in the UK and SESI centres in Brazil to co-create resources and share best practice in the use of rugby for social inclusion and the development of young people.
- To share knowledge and best practice in rugby with teachers, coaches and young volunteers creating a sustainable workforce.
If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 30 May, tickets are still available from Premiershiprugby.com/final.