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Youngsters benefiting from Urban Rugby Squad

23 October 2015

Youngsters are already loving Bath Rugby's Urban Rugby Squad and Foundation coach Joe Aygul believes that the upcoming National Tag Rugby Festival can only help the programme go from strength to strength.

Premiership Rugby's fantastic Urban Rugby Squad programme in partnership with BT Sport's The Supporters Club, and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) will be showcased in a National Tag Rugby Festival on Monday 26th October. 

The big day begins at Richmond College at 11am. The two Semi-Finals (at 3.45pm) and the Final (4.15pm) are on the main pitch at the Twickenham Stoop where an Urban Rugby Squad will have been selected to represent each Premiership Rugby side. Entry is free at the Twickenham Stoop and all are welcome to attend.

The scheme is still relatively new down in Bath but Aygul, who is a senior health coach for Bath Rugby Foundation - who are now running their Urban Rugby Squad programme - insists it is already making a huge difference.

"We officially started the programme this week but for the last couple of weeks we have been delivering the rugby sessions,” said Aygul.

"They have been very well-received already, especially by the girls funnily enough. The girls are loving it and really keen to get involved.

"The youth centre where it's held have told us that it's the best project they've seen and it's always nice to hear things like that.

"I'd say on average we are getting about 12 to 15 people per session although sometimes it's a few more or a couple less depending on the weather or other things.

"I think the chance to showcase it is absolutely huge for the programme and raising awareness about it.

"It's great that Premiership Rugby are trying to take rugby to different places and Monday's trip is a great opportunity.”

The Urban Rugby Squad programme continues to support young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England participating in regular sporting activity and personal development workshops that use rugby as inspiration on areas including anger management, drugs/alcohol misuse, sexual health and physical fitness assessment.

The National Tag Rugby Festival provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the great work being down by the scheme and Aygul says the youngsters are counting down the hours.

"Everybody is really looking forward to Monday and heading down to London now – they've been asking about it and I have been running round trying to get all the permission forms and everything sorted,” he added.

"We've been tweeting and Facebooking about it and the youngsters realise it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – although I think they are keen for it to be full contact rather than tag!”

The Urban Rugby Squad is a ground-breaking new initiative run by Premiership Rugby and its clubs which has seen a thousand of young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England participate in regular sporting activity and personal development. The programme has received substantial backing from BT Sport, through its charitable initiative The Supporters Club and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players' Association (RPA). A documentary about the Urban Rugby Squad is on BT Sport 1 on 1 November. For more details see premiershiprugby.com/UrbanRugbySquad.

Urban Rugby Squad: Jess Gale, Harlem Gosz, Harley Moore, Laura Reynolds, Sam Claridge, Jasper Spence, Harry Jones, Matthew Saffin, Jake Bishop, Todd Burge, Emmanuel Russell, Kezia Reynolds, Carenza Clifford, Morgan Dearden, Jake Welsh, Robert Mather, Georgina-Mae Pope, Ross Wajtknecht, Ryan Mason

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