The south west may be one of rugby’s traditional heartlands but Exeter Chiefs community coach Andrew Dudley says the word has been spread even further thanks to Urban Rugby Squad.
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 after running four satellite camps across Exeter, Dudley and his coaches have finally whittled the squad to 12 after a hugely impressive turnout in each.
“Our squad contains seven boys and five girls, and I’m really happy with the mix we have got,” he said.
“We are very fortunate in Devon that rugby is a big sport. Everyone seems to have played it at one standard or another, whether it be with a club, school team or just with your mates.
“But we wanted to target people who have not played much rugby lately, but were enthusiastic about the chance to get back into it.
“Because of the privileged position we are in geographically and the hard work some of the schools in the area have put in, we have been working with kids with a really good skill-set.
“I’m no Rob Baxter but hopefully we can do quite well and represent Exeter and the south-west well.”
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.
With the Rugby World Cup building to its conclusion there has never been a better time to encourage children from all backgrounds to give the sport a go.
Exeter Chiefs’ own home, Sandy Park, played host to several matches during the pool stages and Dudley believes the Urban Rugby Squad initiative has tied in perfectly.
“My aim is to get a rugby ball back in people’s hands and Urban Rugby Squad is a fantastic initiative that helps that to happen,” added Dudley. “It opens up opportunities and is a fine way to get people involved in the sport again.
“There has been a really big buzz in Exeter with regards to the World Cup, we are a host city, and there are signs and posters up everywhere about the tournament, so everyone has been excited.”
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: Ethan Langson Justice, Jack Sylvester, Tom Cooke, Ryan Shafler, Sam Fulthorpe, Joe Oats, Harry Otterway, Abby Middlebrooke, Rosie Martin, Lauren Jenner, Alice Jones, Wiktoria Jazwinska