Worcester Warriors’ youngsters are gearing up for today’s Urban Rugby Squad National Festival at their very own Sixways Stadium, with community coach Simon Northcott expecting an experience they’ll never forget.
The Urban Rugby Squad is a ground-breaking initiative run by Premiership Rugby and its clubs, helping 1,000 young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England.
In its first year, the scheme helped 778 young people and delivered 136 personal development workshops on topics such as anger management and sexual health.
With the National Urban Rugby Squad Festival being hosted by the Worcester Warriors today, Northcott is looking forward to his youngsters being able to showcase the very best of their abilities.
“We definitely want to be making the most of the home setup. It’s fantastic for everyone that it’s coming to Sixways and it’s sure to be a very enjoyable occasion.
“With the projects we’ve been doing we’ll have quite a diverse community playing for our team which is great news. It’s a great opportunity to show what we can do and all the work we’ve been putting in.
“The Urban Rugby Squad programme is fantastic. It’s a brilliant way to engage as many people as possible into rugby and as a direct result of the project you now have people who are engaging in rugby with clubs and getting positive outcomes out of it.”
Each Aviva Premiership Rugby side will have an Urban Rugby Squad representing them to celebrate the achievements of the season.
And while Northcott has only been involved for a limited amount of time, he already has a first-hand experience of just how much of a difference the programme is making to the youngsters.
“The squad are incredibly keen. We’ve got a large contingent of girls who have started playing in the last six months and it should be a fantastic experience for everyone,” he added.
“I wasn’t involved last year but the social skills people have developed even since I’ve been there have been outstanding.
“These guys haven’t played rugby a huge amount so when you start adding pressure to that it becomes less enjoyable.
“We’ve kept it very low key and given them the opportunity to go and express themselves as opposed to us putting pressure on. The aim is to enjoy the whole experience on ‘home turf’.”