Excited pupils and staff arrived at a sunny Twickenham ready for a fun rugby festival event. The Harlequins Foundation opened The Stoop to over 150 young people with learning difficulties as part of Project Rugby, a Premiership rugby and England rugby initiative.
More than 15 special education schools from across Surrey brought teams to take part in the Foundation’s first ever Rugby Festival for SEND pupils at the home at the home of Harlequins.
Harlequins Foundation and All School Coaches joined forces to introduce pupils to mixed-ability touch rugby, before putting them through their paces for a fun rugby festival in the afternoon. St Philip’s School were delighted to win the trophy for Pride School for the day.
Foundation Coordinator, and Disability Rugby lead, Matthew Williams said: “For us mixed-ability rugby is the perfect way to enable more and more young people with learning difficulties to experience our sport. Thanks to Project Rugby we have been able to support both young people and adults into the sport, and witness first-hand the incredible social impact it can have for them and their local community”.
Rich Murr, Head of Rugby at St Philips School said: ”Rugby is embedded into our curriculum, the impact is has on students is enormous; resilience, team work and confidence have all increased since rugby has been played regularly. I am excited to help introduce the sport to other special schools in the area, many of which will be trying the sport for the very first time. Rugby is the perfect sport for our pupils, it helps them develop essential teamwork and communication skills in a way that most other sports struggle,” he said. “The Disability Rugby Day will be a really exciting opportunity for some of our pupils to learn a new sport on the very same pitch as some of their heroes.”
The Harlequins Foundation used the event to introduce more schools and young people to the game, as well as to find more potential players for Surrey’s first fully inclusive mixed-ability rugby team ‘the Surrey Chargers’. Training every week at Chobham Rugby Club, the Chargers provide real rugby opportunities for disabled and non-disabled players of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
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