Drive to bring through new generation of female rugby players

Schoolchildren took part in a tag rugby competition with an underlying mental health and values programme.

A drive to bring through a new generation of female rugby players is underway across Coventry.

More than 240 eight to ten-year-olds from 33 Coventry primary schools recently took part in The CV Life Engage Girls Tag Rugby Competition, culminating in a final at the Butts Park Arena where eight of the schools competed for a trophy.

Alderman’s Green Primary School emerged the inaugural winners, with other schools including Allesley Primary School, Ernesford Grange Primary School, John Shelton Primary School, Whitmore Park Primary School, Allesley Hall Primary School, Grange Farm Primary School and Stoke Primary School also participating.

Some of the schools taking part had also received the Engage Values Programme and the Engage Mental Health programme, while others have signed up to take part in the New Year.

The Engage Values Programme teaches children about life values – such as teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline – while the Engage Mental Health programme covers topics such as anxiety, resilience, cyberbullying and peer pressure – and where to get support should they need it.

“Not a lot of rugby clubs are currently running dedicated girls teams, so this is providing them with an opportunity that they wouldn’t otherwise have had: to play a new sport in a competitive environment,” said Stuart Bird, Education Manager at CV Life Engage.

“Schools across the city are also crying out for some tag rugby competition, which is reinforced by the huge take-up we have had to take part in this tournament, and that isn’t including the boys’ tournament which we will be looking to do later in the academic year.

“This is just the start for the girls tag rugby tournament, and we are currently liaising with rugby clubs in the area through our ‘School 2 Club programme’ to create a pathway for young girls to go on and play for their local team if want to.”

The success of the CV Life Engage Tag Rugby Competition comes after a year that has seen the overall programme engage with 2,300 five to 11-year-olds across 39 Coventry primary schools.

Gareth Edwards, teacher at Alderman’s Green Primary School, added: “I’m really proud of all of the children for the way they conducted themselves throughout the tournament.

“While it was great to win the trophy, they did it in the right way, displaying all of the key values that they had learned in the classroom with the Engage! coaches.

“The Engage programme provides a brilliant mix of learning that will stand the children in good stead for later life while helping them to get active – it’s enhanced our school curriculum and I’d definitely recommend it to other schools.”

For more information about CV Life Engage visit www.engagecoventry.com.