WRU kick starts the HSBC rugby festivals in Llanelli
25 February 2009 16:11
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.
Principality Stadium will host the UEFA Champions League Final in six weeks' time. WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford and Ambassador Ian Rush joined young sports fans at the trophy arrival at the venue to celebrate the magnitude of the event on Saturday 3rd June (kick-off 19.45).
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.