- Girls take up rugby thanks to All Schools programme
- Tyldesley RFC boosted by student coach
Women's rugby union is growing at a tremendous rate across the country and Tyldesley in Greater Manchester is underlining that trend thanks to a new initiative by the Rugby Football Union to give new schools a chance to experience the game.
The RFU’s All Schools Programme is a project aimed at introducing rugby into 400 non-rugby-playing schools before Rugby World Cup 2015 and up to 750 by 2019.
‘All Schools’ aims to offer opportunities for more than one million youngsters to play rugby by delivering a package of resources within schools who have been linked to a local club in clusters across England.
The initiative, one of seven strands of the RFU’s World Cup 2015 legacy planning, is being rolled out in schools across the North-West, with the Tyldesley and Eccles RU clubs working with Fred Longworth, St Mary’s and St Patrick’s schools.
But while the All Schools projects is delivering rugby coaching to boys and girls, at Tyldesley the initial impact has been in the girls department thanks to the efforts of a young student, Delta Williams, who has been working with Fred Longworth and St Mary’s youngsters.
The 22-year-old daughter of Ian Williams (the Rugby Development Officer for the Isle of Man) graduated from the University of Cumbria with an Honours degree in Coaching and Sports Development and has been applying that knowledge to excellent effect.
She has been delivering around 20 hours a week in the two schools with the result being that 15 Year 9 girls and five Year 7 girls have turned up at Tyldesley RFC, where Delta is also helping deliver sessions to integrate the girls.
While she has links with the Liverpool St Helens and Leigh as well as Tyldesley, it's the latter where her influence is being felt the most, as coach Joe Riches confirmed.
“Delta has been a real asset to Tyldesley’s girls section,” said Riches. “She has been both enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about the game. She has coached both the Under 18s and more regularly the Under 15s/13s and through her schools work she has encouraged a number of new girls to attend our club the sessions.
“Tyldesley girls currently don’t have an Under 15 side, but it is hoped this will soon be remedied thanks to Delta’s input and commitment.
“I’d love to keep developing through the RFU after being involved with coaching since I was 16 and volunteering in schools, RFU Camps and Tag Festivals,” said Delta. “Since September 2012 I have been involved with the All Schools Programme, as well as coaching a University Ladies team and recently taking on the coaching and development of a Senior Ladies team at the Liverpool St Helens.
“The RFU initiative has massively benefitted the schools and clubs involved by providing an opportunity for many girls that they wouldn’t have had before. It’s given girls a new sport to play, allowing them to be part of a team and take part in regular physical activity.
“I really appreciate being part of the programme, which has provided me with the opportunity to branch into rugby in England. It has provided me with experiences and challenges to help me continue learning and developing.
“I think the All Schools is a great programme that provides the opportunity for young girls to play a sport that they never would have tried before. It connects schools to local clubs, which creates the opportunity for more matches to be played and in turn boosts the standard of the girls’ game."