West Leeds RUFC’s Under-15s girls team played in their first-ever match last week against Wheatley Hills, and in a competitive game at Bluehill Lane the newly formed side earned a 29-27 win.
The formation of this team is a huge success story for the Yorkshire Carnegie community team who helped form the team through the Premiership Rugby programme ‘Project Rugby’ which encourages more involvement in the sport of rugby.
The programme commenced in March and has seen girls attend regular training sessions and West Leeds have now attracted enough players to form their first girls Under-15s team. The girls at West Leeds only started attending training sessions with the club in April and training has been led by Emma Lawson from West Leeds, with support from the Yorkshire Carnegie community team and the RFU central team.
Commenting about the success for West Leeds, Sam Kerry, Rugby Development Coach for Yorkshire Carnegie, said: “I’m really proud of the girls and the work that has been done through Project Rugby. When we first started there were only three or four girls coming and now they are playing their first ever game which is a great achievement for everyone involved. I think the process as a whole of exposing young individuals to a sport they wouldn’t normally get the chance to play is a positive thing to do and we are proud to be involved in this project.”
Project Rugby is a joint initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby designed to increase participation in the game by people from traditionally underrepresented groups.
Through this new project Premiership Rugby wants to change the traditional perceptions of rugby union and show that that rugby is for anyone regardless background or ability. An initial multi-million pound investment has already been committed, which will see community staff from 14 Premiership Rugby shareholder clubs are providing accessible opportunities for under-represented groups at 200 sites across the country.
Speaking after their first game players from West Leeds Under-15s girls said: “We all gelled and worked together really well. We all enjoyed the game and it was good to see how we had all improved since the beginning of the summer.”
For more information on Project Rugby email firstname.lastname@example.org