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Connecting Rugby to the Special Needs Community

  
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4/23/2013
By Community Rugby


Rugby CONNECT aims to ensure that all people, regardless of disability, gender or ethnic background are given the opportunity to participate to their full potential by encouraging the inclusion of all participants - both on and off the field; from playing, coaching, officiating, administering and volunteering in Rugby. 

As part of this, Sydney Juniors with the assistance of the Australian Rugby Union and NSW Rugby has developed a specialised Rugby program for children with special needs.
 
The special needs community is limited in their choice of recreational pursuits, particularly in regards to sporting opportunities. This exciting new Rugby initiative caters for children and young people who have previously been excluded from participating in organised sport due to their disability or who are no longer able to participate in mainstream Rugby.
 
This Rugby CONNECT Program aims to teach participants the basic Rugby skills such as passing, catching and evasion, improving spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination. The Program also teaches the participants team values, sportsmanship and confidence in a fun, safe and engaging environment. It has been proven that physical activity for special needs children has many positive effects including both physiological and psychological.
 
Targeting people with a physical or intellectual disability between the ages of 5 and 17 years, Rugby CONNECT is conducted by Sydney Junior Rugby Union Rugby (SJRU) who is the sole delegate authorised under NSW Rugby Union to co-ordinate the game of Rugby in Sydney. SJRU employs contracted coaching directors to run and co-ordinate the weekly program.
 
NSW Community Operations Manager, Michael Doyle, commented, "This inaugural Rugby CONNECT program is an exciting initiative which helps extend the access and opportunity of Rugby programs throughout the State to all willing participants who want to be involved."

Doyle added further, "Rugby Union first and foremost is about inclusion, enjoyment and camaraderie, and this program reaches out to a new group of young, inspiring participants. We look forward to watching this program and the participants grow and prosper."
 
In its pilot year, this Rugby CONNECT program will operate every weekend for seven weeks during School Term 2, commencing in Maroubra on Saturday 4 May and in Lindfield on Sunday 5 May.
 
Rugby CONNECT is more than a local club team. It’s an opportunity for families to gain a social network, for kids to find friends, gain confidence in their ability and join the Rugby community.
 
For more information about this program, register interest as a participant or become volunteer, please contact Taleah Neowhouse at sydneyjuniors@nswrugby.com.au or on (02) 9323 3407.

 

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