Exmouth and Newton Poppleford pupils team up with Exeter Chiefs

PUBLISHED: 13:23 17 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH and Newton Poppleford youngsters are teaming up with Exeter's rugby team in a bid to introduce more children to the game.

EXMOUTH and Newton Poppleford youngsters are teaming up with Exeter's rugby team in a bid to introduce more children to the game.

Exeter Chiefs are over the next few weeks working with St Joseph's Primary School, Withycombe Raleigh Primary School and Newton Poppleford Primary School through the programme, which involves every Guinness Premiership side, Cornish Pirates and the Exeter Chiefs.

Since its launch in January last year, the programme has introduced more than 75,000 eight to 10-year-olds to rugby nationwide.

The scheme has been backed by England rugby player Toby Flood.

The Leicester Tigers and England fly-half flood said: "Rugby is a fantastic game and it's great that so many potential stars of the future will be getting involved. If only half of those carry on playing rugby that will be a great achievement and a huge influence on the future of the sport.

"It's really important that children get involved at a young age, particularly at school when they are most impressionable and can really experience the fun of taking part in sport.

"Not only does it provide the next generation of players but it also introduces the passion of sport to provide future fans."

Club community coaches work with schools over a six-week period, with schools then coming together for regional festivals.

EDF Energy supplies equipment, including tag belts and balls, so schools can continue to coach the game to new children every year.

Many schools also get the chance to take part in tag rugby demonstration games at EDF Energy cup and Guinness premiership fixtures, with more than 20 schools involved at the EDF Energy cup semi-finals and final.

The programme has been supported by additional funding of £198,262 from Sport England, through the National Sports Foundation. The foundation is a Government-led initiative set up in 2006 to help secure new and additional private investment into community sport.

The programme is for boys and girls and runs to the end of the school year in 2009. To find out more go to www.edfenergyrugby.com

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