Pupils give rugby a try at tournament

Children from all the schools competing in the rugby tournament.
Children from all the schools competing in the rugby tournament.

A competition helping get pupils into Rugby World Cup spirit was worth a try.

Nearly 100 children from nine first and primary schools descended on Marden Bridge Middle School, in Whitley Bay, for the tournament.

Sporting the team colours of the nations competing, they took part in tag rugby with Whitley Bay’s Southridge First School – representing South Africa – taking home the title.

A ‘fair play’ trophy was awarded to pupils from Langley and Rockcliffe first schools, for showing respect, passion, honesty and determination.

The event was the idea of Langley’s headteacher Tim Jones and organised by North Tyneside Council’s PE team to give youngsters a chance to try the sport.

Tim said: “It was pleasure to be able to take part in a rugby festival during the Rugby World Cup.

“Hopefully with this festival and the opportunity to watch internationals at St James’ Park, be it in person or on TV, more of our youngsters will be inspired to play the sport – who knows, they might even go on to represent England one day.”

Coun Eddie Darke, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, added: “Rugby World Cup fever has certainly gripped North Tyneside.

“We have had so many children taking part in a variety of rugby-themed events, and the feedback from the children, their parents and their teachers has been great.

“One of the aims of the Rugby World Cup was to help to create a legacy and get more young people playing the sport, and this is certainly happening in our borough.”

Before the event took place, the nine schools were offered rugby training sessions from Access Coaching, and Vision Education provided equipment and t-shirts for the children.

Darren Starling, primary education manager from Vision for Education, said: “Vision for Education did not hesitate to support this fantastic, local sporting event.

“We passionately believe in investing in and supporting North Tyneside’s children and schools and the wider community.

“Being from North Tyneside myself, it gives me great pride to be able to give back as much as possible to the community in which I grew up.

“The success of the event is testament to the hard work of Mr Jones and all of the schools and children involved in the tournament.”

Whitley Bay-based Rockcliffe RFC also provided support on the day, and the club supplied information on its activities to highlight the opportunities for the children to carry on playing after the event.