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Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme

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Leicester Tigers teamed up with Premiership Rugby sponsors Aviva and World Cup winner Will Greenwood for a coaching session with almost 60 Leicester schoolchildren.

Greenwood joined club coaches at Fosse Primary School, a Tigers Aviva Premiership Rugby School, and put the youngsters through their paces.

The pupils were taken through a range of rugby activities to help continue their tag rugby education as part of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme. They also joined Tigers at Welford Road for last Sunday’s game and enjoyed a half-time parade on the pitch.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme, which was launched in October 2010, is run by the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs. Tigers are running the programme in Leicester and Norfolk and will be working with more than 100 schools this season.

“The kids, boys and girls alike, were absolutely fantastic,” Greenwood says. “Some of them had never seen a rugby ball before, but they were as keen as mustard to learn. And they were chuffed to bits to be given their T-shirts and to be photographed with the Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy.”

The Aviva Premiership Schools Rugby Programme represents a significant investment of £2m by Aviva, the world’s sixth-largest insurance group, into the grassroots of the game.

During the season, the programme involves more than 15,000 hours of coaching reaching more than 39,000 Key Stage 2 pupils from 650 primary schools. With the initiative due to be repeated during the next two seasons as well, that means involving 150,000 young people who may not otherwise have been exposed to the sport.

Greenwood said: “The Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme is a brilliant concept and will help nurture young English talent of the future, as well as giving kids more confidence and inspiration to enjoy sport and keep fit.

“The crucial thing is to seize their interest at a young age and then hopefully they will take pride in staying fit and enjoying themselves outdoors rather than sitting around inside. Tag rugby is a great way to do that.

“The programme is also targeting non-traditional rugby-playing schools, so hopefully it will bring a whole new audience to the game.

“It is amazing to think that almost 150,000 kids will feature in the programme over the four years – and most of those children will have never played the game before. Even if only 10 per cent of them show enough interest to go down to their local rugby club, that would be fantastic. It is an amazing investment by Aviva.”

Louisa Cheetham, senior sponsorship manager at Aviva, said: “We are thrilled that the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme continues to be so well received. Almost 1,000 schools have already benefited from our partnership with Premiership Rugby that delivers rugby to schools which, for the most part, are new to the game.

“We feel that the programme encapsulates the importance of delivering real benefit to communities through rugby and help towards the creation of a sustainable legacy for the sport. It is also gratifying to think that, in the process, we could be discovering young England players of the future.”