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Premiership Rugby

Grass-roots rugby receives boost

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The annual audit, conducted by Premier Rugby, showed that participation in the numerous projects was up by 16 percent from the 2001/2002 season.

The schemes cover a wide range of activities from tag and touch rugby to out of school clubs, education projects and health initiatives and are open to youngsters who are new to the sport as well as adults who are looking to get into rugby.

The programmes are managed by a team of over 40 community development Officers who are employed to help build links between the clubs and their local communities.

The sharp increase in participation is due in part to last season's launch of the National Community Programme – sponsored by Powergen with support from Sportsmatch – that saw 35,000 young people getting involved with their local clubs.

All the Zurich Premiership clubs make their top stars available for the community schemes through coaching, player appearances and school visits.

"Once again the input of the players as been a major factor in the success of our community initiatives over the past 12 months," said Mick Hogan of Premier Rugby.

"In total some 130,000 man hours are invested by the players, club staff and volunteers to make our community programmes the leaders in their field.

"The record levels of government grants and sponsorship are testimony to the quality and reach of this work."

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