Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation (THSYF) and Clifford Chance have partnered up to launch their Rugby Academy.
The Clifford Chance Rugby Academy is currently running in 10 primary schools across the borough of Tower Hamlets, and is working to develop links with Millwall and Blackheath Rugby Clubs for the most talented children with extra training in holiday camps and support with the supply of equipment and transport to and from sessions.
Clifford Chance, the official law firm for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, has joined as the Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation's partner for the Rugby Academy with volunteers attending each school session giving hands on support to Rugby Development Officer, Scott Vinnicombe.
At a training session at an East London school, THSYF announced details of the partnership whilst also unveiling Harlequins and England winger Marland Yarde as their Patron. Wing wizard Yarde joined the academy students for the launch and took part in the session, much to the children's delight.
The England international demonstrated his skills and inspired the children to work even harder in preparation for their Tag Rugby Tournament set for the Summer Term.
The Quins star clearly enjoyed training with and playing Tag Rugby with the youngsters. He said: "It's so important to nurture and look after the kids. They will shape our world tomorrow and it's vital that we positively engage and influence them today."
Yarde spoke about the THSYF and Clifford Chance partnership: "This is a massive project courtesy of Clifford Chance rugby academy.
"It's absolutely fantastic and the kids have been really getting into it today. Quite a good few running about here today are future stars and I've been shown up a couple of times here this afternoon with great levels impressive skill and trickery."
Yarde was a latecomer to the game and started to find his way in rugby whilst a teenager. "I started rugby pretty late, when I was thirteen or fourteen.
"These guys today (the children) obviously have had the privilege of learning rugby at an early age and have the culture ingrained in them as well.
"They are doing things the right way, by having fun and developing a love for the game. They are taking part in the physical part of the game, they're able to run around, play tag, express themselves. It's fantastic.
"I got in late but picked up the sport pretty quickly and was able to get selected into the London Irish academy, and it all sort of picked up from there really. It's a fantastic sport. It teaches you about values, it's just a quality sport to play and train for."
Football is the nation's number one sport and rugby in England is often more associated with public schoolboys and the elite. Yarde is asked as to how rugby can be made accessible to the general masses.
"Just getting people involved is the first step," he said. "Ours is a football dominated country and we need to get kids involved in the make up and fabric of our local clubs, getting them running and basically just enjoying it.
"We must teach them about the values of rugby and always let the enjoyment factor shine through as well.
"In this way you get a lot out of rugby, you're working hard and also make a lot of good mates along the way."
Yarde is excited about the future prospects of English rugby. He said: "We've really stepped up to the plate over the last two years, especially from the perspective of not only our attacking game but defensively as well.
"Obviously this is a hugely important year but England are providing the wow factor. Just look at last weekend's showdown with France. How many times will you get a chance to watch 10 tries in a game. It was phenomenal and hopefully a sign that things are clicking into gear at just the right time.
"It's a hugely important year what with the rugby World Cup in a few months time. As you can see from last weekend's contest against the French - the teams are beginning to whet the appetite and get the fans licking their lips in anticipation of a festival of rugby.
"It's brilliant. It's massive for the sport. Not just for the thousands in the stadiums but the millions behind them as well. It's shaping up to be a momentous year and one everyone is looking forward to with great excitement."
Yarde is not contemplating anything but English success at the World Cup. "England can do it in a World Cup year, I'd like to think we'll win, especially as we are playing at home and it's not often you get World Cups at home. It's a one in a million opportunity.
"The crowd are the 16th man and their support is quite capable of lifting the team to the greatest heights.
"There are some extraordinary teams and the likes of New Zealand and Australia will be coming over with all guns blazing. We need to keep our mettle, get out of our group and really kick on from there. Anything is possible."
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