10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The project embraces the involvement of 76 IRFU employed Youth Development Officers liaising with a potential 430 schools around Ireland in a 26 weeks programme, from September to Easter, with the aim of introducing to the game of rugby schoolchildren from the age group of under 8's to 15 years.
The IRFU - Frosties Rugby Youth Development Programme brings to the Schools a professional programme of a phased introduction to Rugby through Tag and Mini-Leprechaun Rugby to the full contact 15-a-side game. The programme is operated in partnership with the local Clubs and represents an ideal linkage in the recruitment of players to the club game. The programme will embrace the following Provincial breakdown:
* Ulster: 11,000 children, 100 schools, 16 Youth Development Officers.
* Leinster: 12,000 children, 120 schools, 26 YDO's.
* Munster: 9,000 children, 110 schools, 15 YDO's .
* Connacht: 6,000 children, 80 schools, 19 YDO's.
Roy Loughead, President of the Irish Rugby Football Union, says: "We are delighted to welcome Kellogg's Frosties as new sponsorship partners in the IRFU. We have identified the Youth Development Programme as fundamental in our determination to make the game of rugby football more accessible to more people and we view this initiative as central to that aim. Rugby in Ireland is currently enjoying a huge profile on account of the success of our National and Provincial teams and this new sponsorship will enable us to capitalise on that momentum."
John Rooney, Marketing Manager of Kellogg's Ireland, says: "Partnering the IRFU in the exciting Youth Development Programme is a very compatible fit for our Frosties brand. We are delighted to be associated with a project that encompasses the best virtues of the sporting curriculum at schools throughout Ireland. It is our hope that the Frosties Rugby Programme will help develop rugby at grassroots level and play a role in nurturing players for the future."
Eddie Wigglesworth, IRFU Director of Rugby Development says: "The programme, run by full-time and part-time YDO's, recognises the difficulties in bringing our sport to new schools where rugby has not previously been part of the sports curriculum. The response from the schools section to the YDO Professional Programme has been very satisfying and the demand for the services and inclusion in the programme is way beyond our expectations. This new relationship between Kellogg's Frosties will now enable us to further expand this exciting programme."