Women's Sports: Premiership Rugby working to increase accessibility and inclusivity

Premiership Rugby is working to make rugby a game for all this International Day of People with Disabilities.

Premiership Rugby is working to make rugby a game for all this International Day of People with Disabilities.

To open up the sport, Premiership Rugby has provided accessible rugby playing opportunities for over 7,000 disabled people since 2016. 

The news comes ahead of International Day of People with Disabilities on December 3 and has been driven by work by the Premiership’s Project Rugby community programme.

The Project Rugby initiative is a joint initiative with England Rugby and Activity Alliance. The initiative aims to increase participation in rugby across under-represented groups.

Tim Mathias, Inclusion and Accessibility Manager at Premiership Rugby, said: “Our aim at Premiership Rugby is to extend the offer of rugby to all – and our Project Rugby participation programme has been a huge success in providing an introduction to those who have never played the game before or who perhaps felt that it was not a game for them.”

Project Rugby forms part of a wider community project from the Premiership, One in a Million, which is working to positively impact the lives of a million people in the UK by the end of next season.

The 13 Premiership clubs in collaborations with Gallagher have provided bespoke rugby sessions across the country. During the sessions, disabled participants are coached by highly qualified coaches in supportive environments.

Mixed ability teams have been set up at grassroots and professional rugby clubs across the country and are a sign of the project’s success.

Old Leamingtonians RFC in Leamington Spa are one club who have embraced Project Rugby after Premiership club, Wasps, introduced it. They have since created a mixed ability team with disabled and non-disabled players of all ages.  

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Amy Huc, 18, was born with Down’s Syndrome and is one of the players in the mixed ability team. Before playing rugby she found it hard to socially interact but rugby has been one way she can get involved with a team sports and feel a camaraderie with her teammates, alongside her father, Paul.

The Old Leamingtonians mixed team have even played against other mixed ability teams in Worcester Warriors’ stadium, Sixways.

Premiership Rugby is opening up opportunities for more people to get involved in what is often considered an elitist sport. This Project Rugby initiative is leading the way for the sport to be opened up to more players, whether they are girls, disabled or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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