This week (4-8 April) Wales’ largest rugby 7s Tournament will return to Pontcanna and Llandaff fields in Cardiff. Following a two-year break because of the pandemic, organisers have seen a 20% increase in teams and 1,000 more players registering to take part compared to the 2019 tournament, including more girls’ teams than ever before.
The Urdd and the WRU expect to welcome over 100 schools, 400 teams and 5,000 players from across Wales to take part in the fully inclusive 5-day festival. The tournament includes categories for secondary schools, colleges and special education needs schools as well as a separate category for girls and boys.
A rugby festival for children and young people from Special Educational Needs schools will be held during the tournament, with pupils given the opportunity to play TAG games and learn new skills. The WRU have also invited local primary school pupils to taster wheelchair rugby sessions, with the aim to raise awareness of the game ahead of the World Wheelchair Rugby European championships due to be held in Cardiff in 2023.
For the first-time ever, S4C will be broadcasting the tournament live during the whole week on YouTube and Facebook.
A longstanding partnership between the Urdd and WRU has helped achieve key goals by increasing rugby participation and developing skills while also encouraging the use of the Welsh language outside of the classroom in a fun and informal environment.
Work on legacy projects continue throughout the year, offering rugby sessions in underprivileged areas. For example, the undergoing Legacy Project is providing 18 free taster sessions in three areas of Cardiff this year: Grangetown, Ely and Splott.
Siân Lewis, Chief Executive at Urdd Gobaith Cymru said: “Following two very difficult years for everyone we are delighted to return to Cardiff this year for the biggest rugby 7’s tournament to date. I am so proud of this fully inclusive rugby festival which includes categories for primary and secondary schools, colleges and special educational needs schools, a separate category for girls and boys and for the first time ever the competing will be live streamed over the 5 days.
“As well as nurturing talent for the future, rugby is for everyone and along with this week’s competitions we will be holding wheelchair rugby workshops for Cardiff Primary Schools. I would like to thank our partners but also all the volunteers, coaches and referees who work throughout the year to give our young people amazing experiences and opportunities to enjoy playing rugby and socialising with their friends in the Welsh language.”
WRU Community Director Geraint John added: “Welsh rugby is a vital part of the fabric of our nation. Thanks to sharing a set of goals and philosophies with the Urdd, we can harness our combined resources and use the power of Welsh rugby to inspire the next generation and promote another intrinsic part of our culture – the Welsh language.
“Our partnership with the Urdd enables us to make a difference to non-traditional rugby communities, utilising our respective apprentices to take fun rugby activities to the communities themselves and introducing them to clubs and school-based opportunities. In addition, we are thrilled to be able to include a disability rugby festival in the Urdd WRU 7s programme this season.
“Playing sevens in a school environment is a fantastic way to develop skills, fitness and game awareness, and this competition helps support our core aims of more boys and girls enjoying rugby – and developing better players for the game at all levels.”