WRU kick starts the HSBC rugby festivals in Llanelli
25 February 2009 16:11pm
The WRU and HSBC today kicked off a new junior rugby programme . As Principal Partner and shirt sponsor of this summer's British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa, HSBC has joined forces with the WRU to host a series of one day rugby festivals for youngsters across Wales.
The HSBC Rugby Festivals is the world's largest schools rugby programme and is being carried out across all four home unions. Today in Llanelli, thirteen schools from across the Scarlets region took part in Wales' first festival at Coleg Sir Gar, Llanelli.
Over the coming months, there will be another 20 festivals involving 105 schools and 2,300 12-14 year old children across all five Welsh rugby regions - Blues, Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and North Wales.
WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said, "The Welsh Rugby Union sees the development of the community game as a priority and we are delighted to be able to assist with this initiative.
"One of our main goals is to increase participation levels in the game and projects like these give young people fantastic life experiences which will no doubt inspire some of them to strive to achieve their potential in sport and in life."
Speaking on the HSBC Rugby Festivals, Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship at HSBC Holdings said, "I am delighted that all four nations are currently running a full youth rugby programme as part of HSBC's sponsorship of the British Lions.
"This is the first time that a rugby programme has been run concurrently across all four home nations and today alone there are festivals being staged in Scotland (Glasgow) and England (Leeds) as well as in Wales, with hundreds of children benefiting from professional coaching.
"By the time the first ball is kicked on the Lions Tour in May, over 60,000 children and 3,000 coaches and teachers will have been involved in the HSBC Rugby Festivals. Youth, community and education are at the forefront of HSBC's Lions sponsorship and everyone is extremely proud of the programme that is being delivered in partnership with each of the home unions."
In addition to activity in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, HSBC is working to forge cultural links with schools in South Africa. Ten schools across the region will be selected as HSBC 'hub' schools meaning that they will responsible for collecting unused rugby kit to be delivered to South Africa during the Lions Tour.
HSBC has joined forces with IRB SOS Kit Aid to organise a series of kit donations to emerging rugby schools.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
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Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.