The arrival of rugby league’s famous Super League trophy to Gloucestershire this week marked the launch of a new schools programme attracting aspiring players to the sport.
The University of Gloucestershire Rugby League Healthy Lifestyles Camps will kick-start in the New Year. As part of the programme University and Rugby Football League Community Coach, Ken Stone, and a number of student coaches, will be going into Gloucestershire schools to teach rugby league to pupils.
Ken Stone, Director of Rugby at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “This is the first time that a University of Gloucestershire sports team has created their own community development team. The University has provided support to a number of current students to complete their Level 2 Coaching course and now, newly-qualified, they will help to deliver the programme. The county’s school students have not had many opportunities to learn rugby league before and the University is now able to facilitate this, in a bid to raise the profile of the sport.”
Matthew Coldrey, Level 2 student coach and University rugby league player, added: “The Super League Trophy visit was a superb opportunity to inspire youngsters to what can be achieved in this sport. It’s a fantastic trophy and its visit also reinforces the strong links between the region and the Super League Champions, Leeds Rhinos.”
The Super League trophy was showcased at Coney Hill Community Primary School and the National Star College accompanied by stars from Leeds Rhinos, including mascot Ronnie the Rhino; representatives from the University of Gloucestershire’s rugby league coaching team, sponsors the Holiday Inn Gloucester and Cheltenham, and players from local side Gloucestershire Warriors.
Andrew Easey, Teacher and PE Coordinator at Coney Hill said: “It’s fantastic to make use of the partnership the University has with Leeds. The school is looking forward to the University of Gloucestershire Schools Program starting next year. The children were very enthusiastic to see the trophy and not forgetting Ronnie. They have learnt lots about rugby league and even grilled Tom Williams with some challenging questions. Many thanks to Matt and the team for setting up this opportunity.”
Julian Ralph, Senior Tutor in Sport, National Star College, added: “The visit from Matt and the team has enabled us to raise awareness of rugby league to students with a range of disabilities and provide them an opportunity to play rugby league, as well as watch it live or on television. National Star would like to give students the chance to be part of a sport, which they may not have otherwise been involved with and we look forward to working with the team in the near future.”
The trophy took to the road as part of the University’s ongoing partnership with Leeds Rhinos. The University of Gloucestershire first team are currently rated as one of the top 8 student sides in Europe in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Super 8 League.
Further information for schools can be obtained via Ken Stone, Rugby League Community Coach on firstname.lastname@example.org