13 October 2011, 5:34pm
On Wednesday 12th October Ben Skirving offered his support to local school children from the Chippenham Primary School cluster. Area festivals are an integral part of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme. The tag rugby festival was held at Chippenham RFC and was the first taste of competitive rugby for over 180 children aged 8/9 and allowed schools that are new to rugby to participate in a fun environment with schools of a similar standard.
The participating schools were, Charter Primary, St Pauls Primary, Ivy Lane Primary, Hullavington Primary, Redland Primary, Stanton St Quinton Primary, Walter Powell Primary, St Mary's RC Primary and Sutton Benger Primary. A massive thanks to our hosts Chippenham RFC and in particular Greg Ayliffe, Chippenham RFC mini's and youth chairman for all his hard work behind the scenes, the use of their facilities and making the festival a huge success.
Now in its second year, the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme represents a significant investment (£2 million) by Aviva into the grass roots level of the game. Resources will go towards supporting over 15,000 man hours of coaching and reaching more than 36,000 pupils aged 8/9 years old from 600 primary schools in England over each of the next four seasons.
Ben said: "It's great to see these young kids being given the opportunity to test their skills against each other. That's what the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme is all about. It's designed to broaden interest and participation in the game, especially in non-traditional rugby playing schools, and hopefully we'll see some of these kids lining up for England in the not so distant future."
Rebecca Hagley teacher at St Mary's RC Primary said: "We're delighted Ben Skirving came here today to lend his support to the kids, most of whom are new to the sport. It's a fantastic opportunity for them to learn from professional players and has certainly encouraged them to get involved as much as possible. The Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme teaches core skills, team work and a sense of pride necessary to go on and play rugby union and also crucially ensures that teachers receive quality coaching to help these youngsters reach their potential."
By Steve Middleton