THE 14th Annual Schools’ Tag Rugby Festival sponsored by Collins Stewart Wealth Management will take place this weekend.
37 school teams have signed up to take part in the festival; a total of around 370 primary school children from years three to six.
Organisers, the Guernsey Rugby Academy, are hoping that a large number of spectators will be there to cheer the youngsters on. Refreshments for family, friends and players will be available throughout the day.
This will be Rugby Development Officer, Geraint Cooper’s, fifth and final annual schools’ Tag Rugby Festival as he will be leaving the post this summer.
“The festival has grown considerably over the past five years and it’s really encouraging to see how it has helped to introduce primary school children to rugby and develop their interest and ability in the sport,” said Mr Cooper.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how all the teams get on having trained so many of the children taking part, practicing drills and techniques, so it will be great to see how they put this all into practice during the festival.
“This year we’ve changed the format of the festival slightly so for the first time years three and four will have their own Bowl Competition which means the players have more opportunities to compete in games during the festival, which is great.
“Tag Rugby is a brilliant introduction to the sport and many of the children who have taken part in previous festivals have gone on to develop their game further through the Rugby Academy,” he said.
Tag Rugby is a non-contact version of rugby and is played in teams of seven players with two halves of seven minutes with one minute for half time.
Trophies and medals will be presented for the winning teams in the Cup, Bowl and Plate competitions, as well as the Most Sportsmanlike Team, in each age group. In addition, all participants will receive a certificate and a gift from Collins Stewart as a memento of the day.
St Martins School and Vale Juniors were last year’s winners in the Cup Competitions and Notre Dame Seniors and Castel Juniors were last year’s winners in the Plate Competitions.
Bowl Competition winners from last year, Beechwood, will be defending their title.
Charlie Roger, Head of Collins Stewart Wealth Management in Guernsey, sees the festival as a very positive development for rugby in the island.
“We’re pleased to support the festival each year as well as the post of the Guernsey Rugby Development Officer as it is important for us that we help to encourage rugby excellence within our community.
“There are so many teams taking part in the festival again this year which proves that this sport is becoming more and more popular in the island.
“Geraint has done a fantastic job of developing the interest in rugby in the island’s school children during his time as Rugby Development Officer. The organisation of the festival is just one part of this as through his role Geraint has spent countless hours in the primary schools teaching the rules and techniques of the game and making it fun and accessible to all children.
“We wish Geraint all the best for the future and we look forward to welcoming a new rugby development officer to continue Geraint’s good work.”
The Festival will take place on pitches at the Garenne Stand and the Guernsey Rugby Club pitch at Footes Lane between 8:30am and 1:00pm on Saturday 9 March.