Local primary schools will visit the comprehensive school for the masterclass session and will benefit from training with some of the top names in professional rugby including current internationals Michael Owen, Gareth Cooper, Ceri Sweeney, Hal Luscombe, Luke Charteris and Ian Gough.
Speaking on the initiative Rugby Manager Jim McCreedy commented, "It is intended that these sessions will continue around the Region and moved to various schools in each of the four unitary authorities. This highlights our commitment to the Region and that it is not merely a one off thing. It is building on what we did in the first year of Regional rugby and in pre season when The Dragons squad visited various parts of Gwent and youngsters were invited to watch the squad train as well as receive training advice from the players. They proved to be very successful and we hope they will be again this time. As well as the individual activities a player undertakes such as attending school assembly presentations, coaching clinics, club presentation and Question and Answer evening, the players will visit the Region acting as mentors and role models for the youngsters although sometimes it is hard to tell who has the most fun the players or the children!"
This initiative of The Dragons squad touring the Region was first launched at the start of Regional rugby. Last season various members of the squad visited schools, colleges, fetes, award ceremonies and training sessions as part of The Dragons commitment to the Region and now this season the squad are out en masse. The Dragons players will be working with WRU Development Officers in the various unitary authorities throughout Gwent and sessions will be moved to different venues in Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Newport and Caerphilly.
The sessions have been arranged in conjunction with the Regions WRU Development Officers and speaking on the initiative WRU Community Manager for the Dragons Region Gerry Roberts said, "It is great that The Dragons squad have again pledged their time and commitment to visiting schools across Gwent and that they want to make a positive contribution to the area. As well as giving something back to the community and encouraging youngsters to take up the game it is hoped it will strengthen community links. It is fantastic that The Dragons want to make a positive contribution to the area and we are encouraged that they want to actively be a part of the community. It is a positive step that we are working together in the Region to grow the game."
Not only will the youngsters benefit from receiving training tips from The Dragons top players but the youngster who shows the most endeavour, the team who perform well in the touch rugby tournament and the youngster who asks the best question will all receive tickets to The Dragons Heineken Cup fixture against Castres the following day.
This is part of a ticketing initiative The Dragons run to give the people of Gwent a taste of what rugby at The Dragons Lair is like. The 50 club sides in Gwent all receive tickets for Dragons home games while the community department at Rodney Parade host the matchday experience which sees local schools and rugby clubs enjoy a training session from the community development officers, form the guard of honour for the two teams to run through when they come out onto the pitch before watching the game from the Family Stand.