Leicester Tigers’ Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) team played in their first-ever mixed ability rugby fixture last weekend.
Alongside a team representing Worcester Warriors, the players took part in a joint training session at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in the city before playing a mixed ability format game.
Tigers have teamed up England Rugby and Premiership Rugby on its Project Rugby campaign, a grassroots scheme designed to increase participation in under-represented communities.
The Tigers team was represented by players from Birkett House, which caters for up to 200 students with additional learning needs. This included individuals with various disabilities including motor control to cognitive and behavioural needs.
More than 25 players from each team took part in the event and the group exchanged rugby balls signed by everyone who took part.
Chris McAuley, Leicester Tigers’ inclusive rugby development officer, said: “Leicester Tigers has always looked to champion opportunities for communities from every background, and today’s match was a truly rewarding day for all.
“Some of the kids have never had the opportunity to play in a competitive setting before and so the aim is to build on this and offer regular organised competitive fixtures for groups.”
Tigers run a number of community initiatives across the region to provide opportunities for Black Asian Minority and Ethnic (BAME) groups as well as low socio economic groups. The Leicester Tigers Foundation also continue to support the Tigers Wheelchair Rugby team, who compete in the highest division of the BT Super Series.
Project Rugby aims to reach more than 12,000 participants by next summer, providing accessible opportunities to play rugby in 200 communities, transitioning new players and volunteers into local grassroots rugby clubs.
Find out more below or to get involved, contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org