On 25 March 2018 former and current England Rugby stars, Ugo Monye and Danielle Waterman, gave a surprise visit to Alton RFC, the latest winner of the sought after Old Mutual Wealth Kids First Champions award. The two players were there to recognise the impressive Kids First approach Alton RFC have taken in upskilling coaches and increasing participation at the under 7 to under 13 levels. Alton RFC are the seventh winner of the grassroots award with Old Mutual Wealth travelling to all corners of the country recognising both schools and clubs who go above and beyond to put children first.
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In a training session which will live long in the memory Rugby World Cup winner, Danielle Waterman and former England and Harlequins winger, Ugo Monye joined in passing on their invaluable experience of the fundamental skills of the game. The two players moved around all of the age groups from U7 to U13, supporting the coaches and getting involved, much to the delight of the young players.
England fullback Danielle Waterman commented: “It’s great to see so many young players representing Alton Rugby Club and its testament to the hard work and time all the coaches have put into creating a fantastic environment to learn the sport we all love. The club are a worthy winner of the Old Mutual Wealth Kids First Champions initiative which is all about rewarding clubs and schools who have adopted the approach effectively. I still remember the excitement of learning the game myself, and am happy to see that on so many faces here today.”
Alton RFC Junior Chairman and Coach, Rupert Vitoria, is one of the leading advocates for the Kids First approach that led to the clubs selection for the award. On being named the seventh Old Mutual Wealth Kids First Champion of the season, Rupert said: “We’re extremely happy to be recognised for this award. We wanted to create an environment where as many players of all ages and abilities could thrive, enjoy their rugby, and hopefully stay in the game for longer. To achieve this, we looked carefully at the way we delivered coaching and embarked on a programme of up-skilling coaches, either through running courses at the club or signing coaches up to courses at other local clubs. This season we held two Kids First courses here at Alton. It has brought a more consistent approach to coaching across the age groups and we believe we are starting to deliver on the plan, our aim is for continued improvement with a kids first focus in everything we do.”
In addition to the training session with England rugby stars, a select group of under 13 to under 7 players from Alton RFC will also have the honour of playing at the home of English Rugby, on the hallowed turf of Twickenham Stadium in May. The kids from winning clubs and schools will be treated as England Rugby players for the day as they travel on the team bus, enter the England changing room and sing the national anthem in front of their friends and families.
Mike Mainwaring, Head of Sponsorship at Old Mutual Wealth, said: “The Kids First approach is all about putting children first. Aimed at Under 7 to Under 13 boys and girls, it upskills coaches and creates a great rugby environment, so that everyone stays in the game for longer. It’s great that Alton RFC has adopted this and is putting such a focus on developing their coaches to help ensure that the kids at the club are enjoying their rugby so much.”
For more information on Old Mutual Wealth Kids First, please visit www.englandrugby.com/kidsfirst
Updated 07:50 - 25 Apr 2018 by Steve Jenkins