The new, enhanced partnership between the Urdd and Welsh Rugby Union has already reaped clear benefits with participation numbers up by more than 50%. Primary and secondary pupil participation in the URDD WRU organised alternative format rugby tournaments and festivals held during the spring and summer terms has rocketed from around 7340 last year to 11042 this year.
Three Beach Rugby festivals in North Wales, culminating with last Friday’s ‘Tag ar y Tywod’ event on Colwyn Bay beach completed a successful series of regional and national Sevens, Tag and Beach rugby events since this year’s inaugural Urdd WRU 7s at Pencoed in April when almost 3000 secondary school girls and boys competed over three days.
Numbers are significantly up across the board with the biggest increases in playing numbers seen at the Pencoed 7s and the regional and national primary school tag tournaments.
WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones said, “The Urdd WRU programmes meet our purpose of More People More Often with More Enjoyment and More Success. Using alternative formats of the game to include boys and girls of all abilities in rugby makes for a fun, engaging environment.
“Working with the Urdd in schools around Wales means that two of the most important elements of the Welsh culture – rugby and the Welsh language – are promoted to the next generation of Welsh men and women and the Beach rugby pilot in North Wales is a perfect example of reaching out to children who traditionally had less opportunity to play rugby, especially in school.”
Gary Lewis, Sports Director at Urdd Gobaith Cymru, “The increase in the number of competitors and events this year is very encouraging and we are extremely proud of our partnership with the WRU. As an organisation, offering a wide variety of activities through the medium of Welsh is a priority and it is great that we’re able to offer new competitions such as beach rugby at these wonderful locations on the Welsh coast. We’re looking forward to develop our partnership in the future by offering even more opportunities for members of the Urdd in 2018”.