Rugby programs throughout schools in the Hunter can expect to receive a massive boost in the near future.
That’s mainly due to The Waratahs Junior Rugby Union Club formulating a new partnership with The Rugby Club Foundation to develop and implement a five-year initiative.
And, the organisation will initially deliver a $6,000 grant to kick it all off in 2022.
The Waratahs president Chris Grieve admitted it was great news for the club.
“This helps us defray many costs in providing coaching classes in local primary schools and running a 2022 School Rugby Gala Day for Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6,” he said.
“Earlier this year, we engaged a number of schools to participate in a club-hosted annual Rugby 7s gala day, part of the commitment involving training sessions at the schools leading up to the event, which will take place on Thursday 27 October at Waratah Oval.”
Years 3 and 4 are vying for the Dave Bowtell Memorial Trophy and Years 5 and 6 compete for the Ray Frost Memorial Trophy.
The two competitions honour the long-serving players and Life Members of The Waratahs Rugby Union Club.
More than 130 students from various primary schools, plus team support staff, will participate in the gala day.
The Rugby Club Foundation grant also allows the purchase of field dressings, as well as game and training equipment.
“It’ll help promote safe rugby, cover incidental costs, participation in schools and the best rugby experience for players, families and officials, too,” Grieve said.
“Hopefully, we may be able to provide the schools with custom jerseys for gala days in future years.”
Through its vision of “Sharing the Spirit of the Game”, The Rugby Club Foundation is increasing its financial support of grassroots union across the country.
Since 2017, it has backed 80 programs that offer opportunities for male and female players, coaches and officials of all ages, ability and levels of experience, in all formats of the code across NSW.
Grieve said The Waratahs had also received strong assistance from the Hunter region’s premier rugby organisation, The Hawthorne Club, to conduct the 2022 Schools Rugby Gala Day.
“Coaching clinics have already been held in a number of local primary schools as the gala day was originally scheduled to be played in March or April,” he stated.
“The inclement weather over recent months foiled our plans as grounds became unavailable because of the wet conditions.
“So, we are now focussed on holding the event tomorrow.
“The delay means a re-focus as we intended the gala day to be a forerunner to the 2022 Saturday morning local competitions.
“However, the schools are very keen to participate.
“And, the support of The Rugby Club Foundation and The Hawthorne Club means we still have an event that now allows us to concentrate on attracting young players into the 2023 competition.
“The gala day will further promote rugby and junior participation in a quality and safe environment while developing the next generation of union champions.”
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