Wyles praises Saracens project to promote rugby to London school kids

PUBLISHED: 20:14 02 October 2013 | UPDATED: 20:14 02 October 2013

Chris Wyles (right), Jackson Wray (second from right) and former England international Kieran Bracken (left) watch the Saracens BLAST fixture evening at Allianz Park

Chris Wyles (right), Jackson Wray (second from right) and former England international Kieran Bracken (left) watch the Saracens BLAST fixture evening at Allianz Park


Saracens back Chris Wyles has hailed a programme by the Hendon club to introduce rugby to schools in London.

The BLAST fixture night last week saw children of the Totteridge Academy, St James Catholic High, Wren Academy and Compton Schools getting some insight into a sport that many had not previously played.

Wyles, who featured in Sarries’ 22-12 Premiership win over Harlequins on Saturday,

said: Wyles said: “BLAST is basically a programme where kids in and around north London, who would normally play other sports, are able to play rugby.

“It was brilliant to see kids from different schools down here playing against each other.

“It’s fantastic to see them come here to be encouraged to learn the principles of rugby, the team work and the ethics of rugby, which are brilliant.

“Most of the kids have been brought up playing football but if you can show some insight into what it means to be a rugby player, and they latch on to it, it feels pretty.

“But more importantly is just great to see them playing and getting stuck in.

“The whole physical side of it is probably something they’re not used to. They can put some tackles in, run with the ball and the physical nature of it looks like they enjoy it.

“Most of them are between 10 and 13 but there were some pretty big hits going in.”

The fixture night was organised and delivered by the Saracens Sport Foundation with the support of community partner Sopra Group; promoting rugby and employment opportunities in the local community.

Sopra Group has sponsored the Saracens BLAST Rugby Development Programme since 2011 and more recently sponsored the employment of two apprentices to fulfil the community coaching apprenticeships for Saracens Sport Foundation. The apprentices will be focused on supporting and developing the Saracens BLAST programme.

The apprentices will also work closely with Saracens, Sopra Group and the programme brand ambassador, former England international Kyran Bracken, and community coach Josh Ward to support and develop the BLAST programme.

Bracken said: “Having been involved in rugby for 30 years this programme is the most effective at bringing the game of rugby to those who would never get the chance.

“Many have tried and failed to have any lasting influence, this programme has proved to leave a lasting legacy ensuring the game continues at these schools long after we are gone.

“The programme is now being copied by governing bodies and I am proud to have been part of Sopra Group’s investment in the future of the game.”

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