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The stereotype of rugby as the preserve of country gents and city bankers has been ‘kicked into touch’ with a new campaign launched today by Wasps sensation Danny Cipriani.

The Wasp fly-half and fullback has spent the day with youngsters from the five Oasis Academies across Croydon for a taste of professional-level Rugby training followed by an inspirational talk. 

The ‘Real Rugby’ campaign will showcase the monumental progress the sports had made in becoming one of inclusion and diversity, now taking its physical and social benefits to a diverse range of people and communities.

During the pilot launch, Danny emphasised to young people that with hard work and determination they can achieve their dreams and aspirations – both on and off the Rugby pitch. The pilot will contain two further sessions later in the year and following a review and evaluation, has the chance to be rolled out to Oasis youth groups and projects across the country.

Danny Cipriani says, “Rugby has taught me skills of determination, team work and respect for opponents that will be with me forever. By piloting this project in Croydon with Oasis I hope to help encourage these brilliant young people to stick with the sport that will teach them valuable life skills and maybe even inspire some to take their talent to the very top. “By championing rugby in diverse parts of a city like London I want to leave no doubt in anyone’s minds that this is a sport with something to offer everyone and is already enjoyed by a wide range of people and communities.”

The act of playing rugby allows participants to engage in physical activity, which is a key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. Involvement in training and games requires confidence, concentration and discipline that all transfer into a person’s everyday life and can contribute to people’s mental wellbeing. To play rugby, people need to have the right energy levels and rugby players must eat a balanced diet to ensure they can take part in the sport. Rugby is an inclusive game played by girls and boys of all ages, abilities, shapes, and cultures. It has a number of social benefits, including:

  • Allowing individuals to experience lifelong camaraderie with people from a variety of backgrounds united by the love of one game
  • Rugby teaches people to respect opponent on and off the field and encourages social interaction after games and at events.
  • Rugby is also a great way to experience the world through travel - it is a global game and many teams choose to tour internationally which provides athletes the opportunity to play a sport and experience new places with a group of friends.

Today’s event was the first of three Croydon based events for Oasis children aged between 8-14. During the sessions they took part in a range of professional-level training activities and got a real taste for the challenging but rewarding realities of what the sport has to offer. While some of the young people involved were experienced players through current school activities, for others it was their first encounter with the game.

The day was hosted at Oasis Academy Shirley Park in Addiscombe and students from the following Academies took part in the day:

  • Oasis Academy Arena (South Norwood)
  • Oasis Academy Byron (Old Coulsdon)
  • Oasis Academy Coulsdon (Old Coulsdon)
  • Oasis Academy Ryelands (South Norwood)

Once the scheme has been evaluated, conversations between Oasis and Danny will continue as to the future of the initiative. Oasis operate a range of projects across the country including youth groups, community centres and mentoring programmes, all of which could serve as venues and centres for a similar day of sport-inspired fun and learning.

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