19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
Play Rugby provides teachers and school children with session plans, video clips on how to play fun games, individual certificates for all members of the class and game cards that set out exercises and fun games for children.
"Play Rugby is a great way to introduce beginners to the game and also to continue the interest of those kids who may already be involved", said Ireland and Leinster star Luke Fitzgerald. "I have always believed that the best way to get young children playing the game is to make it fun and Play Rugby certainly does that.
"I think it is also really important that it makes it easy for teachers, coaches and parents to organise the children to play these non contact games and get them running around and exercising in a fun way. It is these sort of programmes that sow the seeds for children to have a healthy respect for keeping active and also to play rugby."
The origins of the Play Rugby programme are based on research that found participating in sports can have a healthy developmental impact on young children. These activities can promote co-operative play, teamwork and good sportsmanship, a key component in the ethos of rugby.
The Play Rugby programme also contains additional information for schools and clubs who would like to set up a girls rugby programme - Play Rugby Girls. Women's Rugby has been targeted as a specific growth area for the game in Ireland and comes directly following the success of the Ireland Women's team who achieved their highest ever ranking at the recent Rugby World Cup with seventh place.
All schools, teachers and parents interested in the programme are encouraged to visit the website at www.irishrugby.ie/playrugby to review details of the programme. The Play Rugby website includes Play Rugby TV with coaching videos, child welfare advice and downloads of all the game cards.
In addition to this, Community Rugby Officers in each of the four provinces will also be delivering Play Rugby packs to schools and clubs throughout September and any school or club interested in the programme should contact the IRFU Provincial Branches in Connacht, Leinster, Munster or Ulster.