Gloucester Rugby has launched a brand-new coaching programme to celebrate the full return of grassroots rugby and encourage families and children to join the rugby community.
The initiative – which includes outreach in five districts - will deliver more opportunities for local children to play rugby, including via Gloucester Rugby’s school tag rugby and multisport programme, organising and facilitating school rugby festivals and furthering outreach by engaging with more local groups.
The new programme will be delivered by the Gloucester Rugby Community Team in conjunction with the Club’s Academy. The ambition is to get more children playing rugby in the local community, and ultimately find the next generation of talent, to join the Club’s elite development programme in the Academy.
Importantly, it’s also to teach youngsters to love the game and its values, so that whatever their ability, they can enjoy playing or watching rugby, not only at Gloucester Rugby, but at their local clubs across the region.
The newly appointed community coaches will each head up different districts across the region, delivering rugby training to local schools and clubs, and acting as a point of contact and friendly face that people can reach out to.
Sam Thomas, Community Development Coach for Stroud and Cirencester, said: “I’m thrilled to be part of the Gloucester Rugby Community Coaching team, it’s been incredibly rewarding working directly with local schools, clubs and the Academy in getting more people involved in rugby, delivering exciting activities for young people to take part in, and looking to discover the next Gloucester Rugby star.
To kick off the coaching programme, Gloucester Rugby hosted the Land Rover Cup at Sir Thomas Rich school, which saw children under the age of 12 taking part in the tournament.
Lance Bradley, Gloucester Rugby’s Chief Executive Officer, and Carl Hogg, Director of Academy and Development for Gloucester Rugby, attended the event to see first-hand how the community coaches inspired and trained the local teams.
Lance Bradley, CEO Gloucester Rugby, said: “With the pandemic restricting Gloucester Rugby’s ability to work directly with the local community over the last year, we’re now delighted to be able to expand our community links further by providing in-person events and opportunities for young people and families to engage with.
“The local community is a cornerstone of Gloucester Rugby, and through our community coaching programme, we’re also looking to tap into the wealth of regional talent and support available to build the next generation of rugby players and fans in Gloucestershire, and future-proof not only Gloucester Rugby, but also local clubs across the region.”
Carl Hogg, Director of Academy and Development for Gloucester Rugby, said: “In supporting the aspirations of local children wanting to become Gloucester Rugby players, the community coaching programme looks to produce talented home-grown players that will have the opportunity to join the Academy.
“Aside from searching for the next Gloucester Rugby great, the community coaching sessions are instrumental in helping young people develop and grow as individuals, working to equip them with important life-skills around teamwork, communication, strength, discipline and resilience.”