From today pupils at schools in Gloucester have the chance to be ambassadors for Rugby World Cup 2015 following the launch of the School Rugby Ambassador programme.
England 2015 Ambassador, Will Greenwood and England Rugby player, Fran Matthews, joined pupils from Wilmslow High School in Manchester to promote the new initiative at a tag Rugby tournament, which was organised as part of National School Sport Week which runs from June 23 - 27.
The programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Rugby Football Union and the Youth Sport Trust, encourages young people aged 14-18 to become School Rugby Ambassadors and organise activities that encourage their peers to play the game and build excitement for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Following an initial application process which was open to Youth Sport Trust Secondary Members, 14 schools were selected in or near Rugby World Cup 2015 Host Cities to encourage other schools to become involved and linking up with local primary schools, with the aim of them forming a network of School Rugby Ambassadors for that city.
With years of experience between them playing at the highest level of the game, both Will and Fran got stuck into the tag Rugby tournament and provided tips on skills and technique needed in the game.
They also led a rugby masterclass for a selection of pupils, focusing on how the core values of respect, enjoyment, discipline and teamwork are important in every aspect of the game, from playing and coaching to leading and officiating.
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said:
"Through this partnership with the RFU and Youth Sports Trust we are engaging young people in RWC 2015 and helping to spread the excitement around (insert city name) and the rest of the country as we head towards the Tournament. We want young people to play an important role in welcoming the world to this proud Rugby nation and this initiative will give an excellent opportunity for fans, players and visitors to interact with schools and the local community."
Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, John Steele, said:
"It is fantastic to launch the School Rugby Ambassador programme in our weeklong celebration of sport that is inspiring so many young people across the country. The energy and enthusiasm of the young leaders will help to drive excitement in schools about the Tournament and hopefully encourage thousands of young people to get involved with Rugby."
The partnership of the Rugby Football Union, England Rugby 2015 and Youth Sport Trust has also created an interactive, innovative resource website which aims to bring Rugby World Cup 2015 to life in schools throughout the country.
Designed by a group of teachers, the site is packed with resources and offers ideas and materials to incorporate rugby into a range of subjects as part of the build-up to next year's Rugby World Cup. The site is based around the RFU's five core values - Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.
It offers creative ways in which teachers can apply each of those values in meaningful ways which will benefit their students across the curriculum. To view the site, log on to www.englandrugbyteachersresource.com
RFU Rugby Development Director, Steve Grainger, said:
"This is an exciting project to help us raise awareness of Rugby in schools and inspire more young people to play the game or be involved in the sport in other ways.
"Our aim is to help them feel part of the excitement that hosting RWC 2015 will bring to this country and to have a real connection to the sport in the build-up to the Tournament.
"This new website will give schools access to a whole range of educational materials and ideas which can bring the game to life in imaginative ways. We are proud of the values that our sport promotes and we hope this website will help teachers to encourage them in all areas of school life."
Throughout May, the RFU, supported by the Youth Sport Trust, delivered the second stage of Young Rugby Ambassador conferences that sought to recruit young people aged 16 to 20-years-old to promote Rugby World Cup 2015 within the English club network.
There are currently 909 Young Rugby Ambassadors and 441 mentors who also have the task of encouraging players to come back to the game as well as cultural engagement.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
A disappointed Tom Savage told GRTV, after the 18-19 defeat at home to the Leicester Tigers, that the whole Gloucester team had put in a fantastic effort, but just couldn't find the extra one or two percent necessary to put away a top side.
Speaking after the narrow loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon, David Humphreys says despite there being a lot of good in Gloucester's performance, he rued the failure to close the game out, as well as thanking the home support
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday's game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.
It's almost four years since Gloucester won a Premiership game at the Rec against Bath. However, they got that monkey off their back on Friday evening with a hard-fought 15-11 win in testing conditions.