YOUNG rugby fans from all over the world have celebrated success at a major international tag rugby youth festival in the city.
The inaugural Jaguar Land Rover International Tag Rugby Youth Festival brought schoolchildren from Paris, New York, Kampala, Brazil and Coventry together to celebrate the Rugby World Cup 2015 and promote the core values of the game.
The children, aged between 13 and 15, took part in an action-packed week of rugby-themed activities, which concluded with Team Paris emerging victorious at a tag rugby 7s tournament held at the Ricoh Arena.
The international teams were partnered with four schools in the city – Caludon Castle, Coundon Court, Stoke Park and Westwood Academy.
They took part in expert coaching sessions with local rugby clubs at Barker Butts, Pinley, Earlsdon and Old Coventrians and watched live sport in the city including Wasps v Samoa, Coventry Bears v London Skolars and the Coventry Blaze ice hockey team.
Other highlights included a visit to Rugby town centre, the birthplace of the game, where the children were able to explore Rugby School, Rugby Art Gallery, the Webb Ellis Museum and its world famous statue.
A sporting values conference was also held in partnership with the British Council which explored the relationship between the five core values of teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline.
The festival was organised by the Engage! programme, an educational rugby initiative that uses the core values of the game to help develop healthy, well-rounded, confident young people.
Tom Clift, programme manager of Engage!, said: “It has been an incredible week that has surpassed all our expectations. We have delivered a packed programme and we couldn’t have asked for better engagement from the Coventry schools, local clubs and our international teams. All of the schoolchildren have loved taking part in the activities.
“Not only have they had the opportunity to learn the great game of tag rugby alongside professional players and coaches, they have also seen it in action out on the field and learnt about its history and values.
“It is the first time anything like this has ever taken place in Coventry and it really showcases our commitment to establishing a rugby legacy in the city and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to be involved in the game.
“The tag rugby 7s tournament was the big finale and all of the teams showcased fantastic skills, teamwork and determination. But, perhaps more importantly, they also embodied the core values of the game that they had been learning about throughout the week.
“I am confident that this event is only the start of lifelong international friendships between the participants. The festival has brought the different communities together and our aim will now be to host similar events at home or abroad in the coming years.”
The International Tag Rugby Youth Festival was supported by EnV (Coventry) a community interest company that provides support for quality events, training and volunteers in the community, by the community, for the community. www.env.uk.com
For further information about Engage! and to keep up-to-date follow @EngageCoventry on Twitter.