Scottish youngsters to benefit from new deal with Ford
The SRU and Ford have announced a new partnership which will revitalise the way that rugby is introduced into schools and clubs throughout Scotland.
The three year programme, "Ford Foundation Rugby", represents the largest investment in Scotland by a company focusing exclusively on raising the profile of rugby amongst youngsters and providing equipment and coaching for both players and teachers.
Bill Watson, SRU Chief Executive, said: "We are committed to rugby at all levels and are delighted that Ford has shown its support for grassroots rugby with this foundation programme. The mini and midi players of today are the internationalists of the future so it is essential that we provide them with all the support and encouragement we possibly can."
"Ford Foundation Rugby" will provide a clear structure for the introduction of rugby from primary through to secondary schools and club rugby. The £200,000 programme will provide the backbone for the introduction of rugby to more than 126,000 youngsters throughout Scotland. As an additional incentive to the programme Ford will be providing a Ford Transit mini bus which all participating schools will have the chance to win through a fair play competition.
This innovative programme provides critical funding in an area sometimes neglected by the corporate sponsors. It will also be a welcome boost to primary and secondary schools to enhance their physical education provision for children.
Ford Foundation Rugby will provide new coaching and resource materials for existing new image (touch rugby) and mini rugby. In addition, the SRU and Ford will introduce Tag Rugby into the Scottish rugby development programme.
Tag Rugby is a new form of non-contact rugby that will bridge the gap between New Image and mini rugby and provide an exciting new game for children in the first two years of secondary school. It aims to prolong a child's interest in the sport and will enhance the likelihood of children developing into the full contact version of the game. The programme will be implemented by the SRU's extensive network of Development Officers (DOs).
Colin Thomson, SRU Senior Development Officer, said: "This represents a major step forward for the introduction of the sport. The provision of Tag Rugby in the first two years of secondary school will keep children, who have been exposed to New Image Rugby in the primary school, involved in the sport. This will allow them to further develop their handling and running skills in an enjoyable way. I'm sure that this process will result in more of these children taking up the game that we all know and love."