Mackay gets behind Walla Rugby Week

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By ARU Media Unit, Community Rugby

Qantas Walla Rugby Week is back and bigger than ever in 2011, with schools across the nation set to take part in the educational, fun-filled affair during the week leading up to the Qantas Wallabies match against Ireland in New Zealand on September 17.

One school that will be taking part for their third consecutive year is Holy Spirit College in Mackay, Queensland. 

Holy Spirit’s Rugby Co-ordinator, Kelli Donnelly, spoke with Rugby HQ this week about why Walla Rugby Week is the perfect thing for all kids.

“It isn’t just about getting involved in Rugby it’s also about getting kids active,” Ms Donnelly said.

“Rugby is such an awesome game and it doesn’t matter what size you are or where your skill level is at, anyone can play.”

Donnelly, a former Rugby player herself for University of Queensland, has found a way to incorporate her experiences on the field with her new career as a teacher to help show the students at Holy Spirit there is plenty of fun to be had in the fifteen a-side code.

“I retired, officially, last year and through my teaching I got my qualifications to coach; and combining those two things with my time as a player gives me a chance to inspire the kids,” Ms Donnelly said.

“It is really good to see those kids who wouldn’t normally get out there be part of it, especially the non-rugby kids.”

Last year saw over 20,000 students from across Australia register for the 2010 Walla Rugby Week.

Qantas Wallabies Coach, Robbie Deans, Qantas Wallabies halfback, Luke Burgess, Queensland Red, Van Humphries and Wallaroo Chris Ross travelled out to the winning school - Warialda High School – in 2010 to present the top prize.

Asked what it would mean for the school of just 830 students in Mackay to win and meet a member of the Qantas Wallabies, Ms Donnelly quickly acknowledge it was a driving factor for all the students at Holy Spirit to be involved in Qantas Walla Rugby Week this year.

“We don’t get too many famous people out our way and it is a large Rugby community that would certainly benefit from a visit if we were to win,” Ms Donnelly said.

“Plus it would be just awesome for all the kids.”

Schools participating Qantas Walla Rugby Week in 2011 have the chance to win some great prizes, including Panasonic gear and Qantas Wallabies school visits.

In addition, schools will earn FREE Rugby equipment for taking part in the week, lesson plans and ideas will be provided to teachers, and combined with the equipment, schools will have everything they need to run the program and get their students active with Rugby games.

For all the information on Qantas Walla Rugby Week and how to get your school involved visit – click here

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