RUGBY: Rugby St Andrews

Tag leaders Steve Kettleborough and Alan Parish who are spearheading Saints' tag rugby outreach scheme
Tag leaders Steve Kettleborough and Alan Parish who are spearheading Saints' tag rugby outreach scheme
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Schools’ tag rugby outreach programme and tournament

Rugby St Andrews RFC Mini and Junior Section has embarked on a ground-breaking outreach programme to introduce tag rugby into local junior schools, leading up to the first ever inter schools tournament on Wednesday, July 2 at the club’s Ashlawn Road ground, 4.30 to 7pm.

Qualified and experienced coaches are currently running introductory courses at St Maries, English Martyrs, Rokeby and Paddox involving some 90 enthusiastic youngsters aged six and upwards.

Since the scheme started last year some 200 schoolchildren have gained their first experience of rugby football, some of whom have gone on to join clubs to play regularly.

As a Community Rugby Club, Saints have a commitment to develop the game of rugby in this, the home of the game. This is one of the key criteria that Saints have met to receive the much coveted award of Accreditation from the Rugby Football Union, the only club in the town to receive this accolade.

Tag rugby is an ideal introduction as it is a safe, fast moving, non contact sport for boys and girls. The emphasis is on enjoyment and the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. To ensure that the children gain maximum benefit Saints have also introduced a ‘coaching pathway’ programme to help coaches improve their skills.

Already this year eight coaches have gained extra qualifications on RFU approved courses with another six scheduled for the next couple of months.

This will enable Saints to expand the outreach work next year, hopefully culminating in a larger scale schools tournament to celebrate the Rugby World Cup, which returns to England in 2015.

Any youngsters interested in learning more about tag rugby with St Andrews should contact John Parsons, Chairman of the Mini and Junior section on johnparson001@hotmail.com or come along to the tournament and see the sport first hand.

The contact for any school wanting to be included in the outreach coaching programme is rodneyblinco@virginmedia.com.