Three Leicestershire schools took part in the first ever Aggregate Industries Concrete Rugby festival last week (4 April) – and were joined by a surprise visit from Leicester Tigers stars
Logovi Mulipola and Marcos Ayerza.
Coalville's Newbridge High School joined Humphrey Perkins School from Barrow upon Soar and Rushey Mead Academy from Leicester in a round-robin tournament as part of the six week programme organised by Aggregate Industries and Leicester Tigers Foundation Trust.
Held at Aggregate Industries’ Bardon Hill HQ, pupils played competitive rugby matches against one another and were later joined by Aggregate Industries staff to cheer them on. The two Tigers props were on hand to present the schools with their certificates for taking part as well as chat to pupils and staff.
Concrete Rugby, under the umbrella of the Leicester Tigers Foundation, is a six week programme where Tigers coaches introduce rugby to pupils in Years 7-9 across the region.
The coaches teach a range of skills including handling, tackling and game-play. Each session also includes a discussion on safety, exercise and well-being and, over the last few weeks, pupils and teachers have been gearing up for the programme’s tournament finale.
The pupils and staff also took part in the 'Speed Pass Challenge, 'Tigers Tackle Bag' and the 'Ultimate Big Boot challenge' which features during half-time at Tigers home fixtures. The Anglo-Welsh Cup – which Tigers won earlier this season following their 16-12 victory over Exeter Chiefs – was also available for people to take photos with.
Blaine Bonnin-Ward, Tigers Rugby Development Officer who runs the Concrete Rugby programme, said: "The first Concrete Rugby festival couldn't have gone better. The pupils enjoyed themselves, there was some great rugby on show and to have Mulipola and Ayerza come along, was a real inspiration. We're hoping to introduce the programme to over 1,000 pupils this season and can't wait to organise many more festivals like this.”
Chris Hudson, Managing Director, Asphalt & Readymix Concrete at Aggregate Industries, added: "It was great to host the first Concrete Rugby festival at our head office in Bardon Hill. The Concrete Rugby initiative is all about giving young people the life skills needed to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. This initiative is in line with our wider commitment to support schools and the community in the areas we operate and we are delighted with the positive impact it has had on hundreds of children. We’re glad a great day was had by all, and hope this festival is the first of many to come.”
Ritesh Bardolia, a PE teacher at Rushey Mead School, added: "I'm very proud of our kids today. Considering some of them had never picked up a rugby ball before, it was a delight to see them out there enjoying themselves. Concrete Rugby is a great way to introduce and engage youngsters in rugby and to be presented with a signed ball for our team spirit was just the icing on the cake.”
To get involved with Concrete Rugby email firstname.lastname@example.org.