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Participation The Key Element For Ulster Schools Festival

Participation The Key Element For Ulster Schools Festival

Ravenhill will play host to a game with a difference this week as organisers of the IRFU Ulster Primary Schools Mini Rugby Festival make an affirmative ‘conversion’ in a bid to encourage all primary school children to take part.

Proudly sponsored by Northgate Managed Services (Northgate) for the fifth year, the IRFU Ulster Primary Schools Mini Rugby Festival will now place a sole emphasis on participation and fun, with the IRFU omitting the ‘must win’ element for the first time in over 35 years.

The festival will take place over four days – Tuesday (May 11) to Friday (May 14) – at Ravenhill where around 40 teams will play against each other in a series of four round robin matches. Scores will not be kept and no team will be crowned winners.

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Commenting on the decision to change the festival’s focus, Simon Wallace, Commercial Manager at Ulster Rugby, said: “Despite its success over the years, we were keen to shift the emphasis away from winning and instead focus on encouraging widespread participation across all school groups, irrespective of their ability.

“Mini rugby continues to be a fantastic way for children to become more active and develop their team skills and sense of ‘fair play’ and fun.

“We’d like to ensure this is true for all children and that no one is discouraged from future participation should their team not ‘win’, and so we’ve taken the decision to eliminate the competition element and rebrand the event as a festival as opposed to a tournament.”

Stuart Gunning from Northgate Managed Services added: “Northgate Managed Services is committed to investing in the communities in which we work and as we continue to play a pivotal role in education through our work with Classroom 2000 (C2K), it is important for us to continue to foster links with the schools we work with.

“This more inclusive approach focuses much more on participation which develops key skills outside of the classroom such as teamwork.

“We are delighted to support the Primary Schools Mini Rugby Festival this year and we hope all the participants enjoy playing at Ravenhill.”