THREE of the city’s major clubs have pledged their support for the ambitious City of Rugby initiative which is already making major headway after being launched last month.
Coventry Rugby Club, Wasps and rugby league team Coventry Bears have all played host to City of Rugby for a trio of launches at recent home games.
City of Rugby partners joined leading club figures as special guests when Coventry hosted Ampthill, Wasps took on London Irish and as the Bears took on Keighley Cougars, when the project was publically launched.
The initiative, which is unique to Coventry, is working to promote both rugby league and rugby union as well as the sport’s core values of teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline.
The ultimate aim is to establish Coventry as a leading city in the world for every level of the game by 2023 – rugby’s 200th anniversary.
Information was given out at each of the games on the initiative as well as drum up support and involvement from rugby fans across the city.
“The support from clubs and fans has been overwhelming and firmly set the City of Rugby’s work in motion – it has had the best start possible,” said Tom Clift, programme manager for Engage! Coventry which is the co-ordinator of City of Rugby.
“To have launched the initiative at each of the city’s most prominent clubs during major home games was a significant achievement which demonstrates the project’s value to the city.
“All clubs were hugely welcoming and it was fantastic to be able to highlight City of Rugby in front of audiences of thousands of interested fans.”
As part of its mission to establish Coventry as a world centre for the sport, the City of Rugby strategy aims to develop the game from grassroots to the elite, drive up participation, enhance coaching and volunteering across all ages and connect schools, colleges, universities and communities with local rugby clubs.
There is a particular focus on making the game more accessible to those from non-traditional rugby playing backgrounds – and the first project as part of this aim is already underway.
Coventry Bears, based at Butts Park Arena, has been granted £99,452 by Sport England to launch Bears 5’s – a new community programme which will develop rugby league by establishing five-a-side teams across three satellite areas in the city.
The launch of the City of Rugby initiative comes hot on the heels of the Ricoh Arena announcing it is to host the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series final on August 6 – a major rugby competition which is expected to draw huge crowds as eight top teams will battle for the title.
Tom added: “As rugby sevens continues to grow its profile within sport, making its debut at the Rio Olympics this summer, the news that the Ricoh will host the top 7s rugby stars is a huge boost for the City of Rugby initiative – further helping us to develop interest in the game and place the city on the map for sport as part of cities ten year sports strategy.”
To keep up to date visit www.cityofrugby.org or follow @CityofRugby on twitter.