A school in Caerphilly County Borough has marked its inclusion into the WRU School of Rugby initiative - by teaching every lesson through aspects of rugby.
Lewis Boys Pengam is one of 22 schools around Wales to be recognised for their commitment to the development of rugby in this way and the only school in Caerphilly.
To illustrate this, Lewis Boys used rugby as a vehicle to teach every subject throughout the timetable for a whole day, along with holding skills and introductory sessions for everyone.
Every discipline took part in the event, with pupils learning about the construction of the Stade de France in French to linking sport and science, discussing rugby articles in English, using rugby data in maths and learning about intelligent rugby shirt fabrics in engineering.
There was also coaching from former Wales hooker Lloyd Burns and WRU development officers alongside the school's PE staff introduced cage rugby and other alternative forms of the game.
Former Wales and British & Irish Lions player John Dawes, a former pupil of the school, was there to take part in a Q & A session and present the official plaque to the school in morning assembly.
Gareth Richards, one of the school's PE teachers and coordinator of the rugby programme said: "We at Lewis School Pengam are pleased to be recognised for our work in developing a positive rugby programme and are proud to be awarded the WRU School of rugby plaque. We are unique in the fact that we are an all-boys school (the sixth form is mixed) and we like to use sport as a clear pathway to help engage, reward and enthuse our pupils, with rugby at the forefront of this.
"Staff appreciate that many pupils are enthused by the sport and are keen to use this in their own areas. Many already use the rugby to interact and build relationships with pupils and appreciate the value it has in terms of pupil learning. This goes on in many subjects and the launch day enabled departments to demonstrate how they do this effectively and celebrate the award as a whole school.
"We are lucky in that we have teachers throughout the school with a big rugby background who are also keen to get involved in coaching rugby and this new status will give teachers, pupils and parents confidence about the opportunities that exist for current and future pupils at our school.
"We have a big rugby tradition at the club, and the pupils learned a lot from listening to John Dawes. The accreditation gives kudos but we aren't resting on our laurels. We have a lot of ideas about how to build on this platform. We are already delivering rugby to our catchment primary schools and there is a lot more to do. We have some quality players in our sixth form and we want to support and nurture that talent as much as possible, enabling those boys to move into the Dragons and international age grade squads."
WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey said, "This initiative is a great example of how best to harness the core virtues and values of our sport. Lewis Boys School has shown the extent to which rugby can be used to engage young people in many ways and on many levels and the Welsh Rugby Union is keen to actively encourage, recognise and support initiatives such as this which make our sport unique."
Former Wales and Lions player and coach John Dawes said: "It's a thrill to come back to the school, especially for such an inspirational event - I'm immensely proud that the school has gained recognition in this way for the work that is done and I'm sure many of the current pupils will go on to have successful rugby careers at whatever level. I think every Pengam boy has good memories of their school days, and even though the buildings have changed, there is still the same buzz and spirit around the place because that is created by the staff and pupils.
"There were a lot of good players here in even in my day - the likes of Derek Morgan who went on to play for England, Peter Rees of Newport and Elliot Williams of Newbridge.
"It's one of Wales' old grammar schools where there was always a great rugby tradition and a strong link to senior club and international rugby, that's a great goal if the boys here can feel that and aspire to that too.
"Sometimes I worry about grassroots rugby in the age of professional rugby but it's encouraging to see school boys enjoying rugby, especially when it's your old school."
Design and Technology teacher Dale Watts, who used rugby kit to teach GCSE Engineering students about the engineering of fabrics added: "Textile engineering is sometimes overlooked but different technologies have gone into transforming rugby kit from heavy cotton tops to modern, intelligent fabrics so it was a great way of bringing the subject to life and connecting with the boys."
Arwel Tobson, a first XV player said: "It's great to be one of the top 22 rugby schools in Wales, and our school team is doing well at the moment but our aim is to be in the top 12 and compete in the WRU Wednesday League."
Year 8 pupil Ryan Evans, who hadn't played much rugby before the launch day said, "I enjoyed the skills session and got involved with the cage rugby.
"I don't usually play rugby but I enjoyed today and my dad thinks I've got the right build for rugby so I think I will join the school rugby club now. I think it can also help with making new friends, communication skills and having fun."
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
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