Wasps’ young rugby players narrowly missed out on claiming victory at the Urban Rugby Squad National Festival at Sixways Stadium last week, but Coventry teen Sabrina Ide was delighted with her first Premiership Rugby experience.
Over 150 youngsters turned out at Worcester Warriors’ home ground to compete for the Urban Rugby Squad National Festival trophy and although Wasps lost out to Northampton Saints in the final, 15-year-old Sabrina said she had a day to remember.
Representatives from every Premiership club and Championship side London Irish – including boys and girls from diverse backgrounds, many of who had never played rugby before – turned out in a fine day’s action at Sixways.
The Urban Rugby Squad is a ground-breaking initiative run by Premiership Rugby and its clubs, helping 1,000 young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England.
In its first year, the scheme helped 778 young people and delivered 136 personal development workshops on topics such as anger management and sexual health.
— EngageCoventry (@EngageCoventry) 1 November 2016
And Coventry teenager Sabrina was happy to make new friends and experience a new sport at a five-star venue.
“School got us involved in the Urban Rugby Squad, I play a lot of sport, but I have really enjoyed it today,” the President Kennedy School pupil said.
“I am really happy with the way the day has gone, it is a great experience to get to play on the Sixways pitch given that all the professionals play here.
“I have made a lot of new friends too and I would definitely consider playing rugby again in the future.”
With tickets to see the Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham on offer, there was some spectacular running rugby on display as 13 sides aimed to seal a trip to the top-flight showpiece.
— Westwoodacademy (@AcademyWestwood) 31 October 2016
Though there could be only one winner, Rhye Parry – Sports and Education Co-ordinator for Engage Coventry who runs Wasps’ Urban Rugby programme – was ecstatic with the way his youngsters performed on such a big stage.
“They have been champing at the bit to compete against the 12 other sides and I thought they have performed outstandingly well,” the 34-year-old explained.
“With such a young group of players that have never played the game before. They really represented Wasps well and professionally.
“It is great to see them mixing so well with all the participants from the other clubs.
“For the growth of the game it is very important, it has given these guys a taste for the game.”
For more information about Premiership Rugby’s Urban Rugby Squad, run in partnership with BT Sport’s The Supporters Club, the broadcaster’s initiative that aims to build a better world through sport, and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA), please visit http://www.premiershiprugby.com/urban-rugby-squad/ and the join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives