This week marks the most successful Aldi Play Rugby season yet!
While the pandemic put a halt to most sporting activities, Aldi Play Rugby has bounced back with a record number of 117,286 students from nearly 800 primary schools across Ireland taking part in the programme between September 2021 and May 2022.
On Wednesday, May 18, the Aldi Play Rugby National Festival took place in the Aviva Stadium, where over 300 children from 16 schools across Ireland had the chance to follow in the footsteps of their Irish rugby heroes and play on the hallowed turf.
Additionally, the lucky young students were afforded the chance to meet a selection of Ireland rugby internationals.
— Inishowen RFC (@InishowenRFC) May 18, 2022
This national event follows a series of regional festivals that took place throughout the four provinces earlier this year. From there, 16 schools were selected to come to the Aviva Stadium this week.
Amongst the rugby stars who were on hand to put the lucky participants through their paces were Ireland internationals and Aldi Brand Ambassadors, James Ryan and Beibhinn Parsons.
Aldi Play Rugby is a national programme aimed at primary school children across Ireland. Developed by the IRFU and supported by Aldi, it is a free, supervised and non-contact rugby programme that provides boys and girls with a fun introduction to the sport.
Schools are offered access to invaluable resources including sessions with Community Rugby Officers, online coaching resources and free coaching equipment.
Speaking on the day, Ireland Women’s star Beibhinn Parsons said,
It was fantastic to see the girls and boys really enjoying the Aldi Play Rugby National Festival. I benefited from being introduced to sport from a young age and it’s wonderful to see over 117,000 kids have had the chance to participate in the Aldi Play Rugby programme already this year. Well done to all who took part.”
Ireland Men’s lock James Ryan added:
I am delighted to have the chance to meet and train with these young kids, giving them a start in the sport I have so much passion for.
“This programme, in association with Aldi, is an amazing one that gives schools across the country the opportunity to avail of much needed facilities for their students.
“It is a great feeling to be able to return to hosting such amazing days following the ease of restrictions.”
It is part of Aldi’s wider commitment to promoting healthier habits every day. That means encouraging children to get active, participate in regular exercise and eat healthily.
Commenting on the programme, IRFU President Des Kavanagh said: “It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to visit the Aviva Stadium today and witness the enthusiasm and excitement from the 16 schools participating in the Aldi Play Rugby National Festival.
“My thanks, on behalf of the Irish Rugby Football Union, to our friends in Aldi for their ongoing support for this invaluable programme, and help in making today an unforgettable day for the lucky participants.”
For more information on Aldi Play Rugby and how your school can get involved, please visit: https://www.ALDI.ie/playrugby-programme.