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News article – Style E 1412

News article – Style E 1412

Irish internationals Eric Elwood and Johnny O’Connor are helping more than 500 boys and girls to kick-off a Ford Tag Rugby Extravaganza in Galway on Friday 22 March at 10.30am.

500 budding rugby internationals to play under watchful eyes of Eric Elwood & Johnny O’Connor.

Corinthians Rugby Club, will see the pupils from over 34 primary schools in Connacht come together to play in a Ford Tag Rugby Extravaganza.

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Ford Tag Rugby is part of a three-year programme that provides resources to over 250 schools each year and directly involves over 25,000 children. It is an innovative community partnership between Ford Motor Company Limited and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to revitalise the way that rugby is introduced into schools and clubs throughout Ireland, many of whom do not currently have the resources to take part in rugby.

Roy Loughead, IRFU president, said “The IRFU has adopted Ford Tag Rugby as the official introduction of the sport to young children between the ages of seven and 11. Tag rugby eliminates body contact, which makes it suitable for boys and girls to play together. We are committed to rugby at all levels and are delighted that Ford has shown its support for grass roots rugby with this tag rugby programme. The mini players of today are the internationals of the future so it is essential that we provide them with all the support and encouragement we possibly can.”

Ford is contributing #200,000 during the course of the programme, which represents the largest investment in Ireland by a company, to raise the profile of rugby in the community, providing both equipment and coaching resources for players and teachers. Schools taking part in the programme each receive a free Ford Tag Rugby pack containing balls, tag belts, bag, bibs, and a coaching video.

As an additional incentive to the programme Ford Motor Company Limited is offering two all-new Ford Transit minibuses to two primary schools. Transport for primary schools is vital for enabling children to take full advantage of opportunities offered to them outside school.

Eddie Murphy, managing director of Henry Ford & Son added, “Ford Tag Rugby addresses an important issue that is relevant to all parents with young children. The amount of sport played by kids in primary schools has dropped to less than 30 minutes each week and the budget for sport equipment is around #120 per school year. Through Ford’s partnership, IRFU youth development officers are able to deliver at grass roots level, equipment and coaching to schools and give children the chance to experience the fun and excitement of rugby and local competition. We are delighted to be investing in rugby and the youth of Ireland in this way.