The ‘Try for Change’ funded programme Sharks Team Talk, started up at Crewe and Nantwich RUFC and Sandbach RUFC almost three months ago and already it has begun to have a huge impact.
At the start of the programme, Sharks coaches believed that the main source of recruitment for the project would be people who had previously been involved in the game, either people who had given up rugby because they felt too old to play contact Rugby or parents of children who had previously played at the club.
However, we have seen many participants become involved in Walking Rugby who have previously never played rugby previously. Howard Coppenhall is one of these, Howard attended the first session at Crewe and Nantwich RUFC having never tried Rugby before. He saw the Walking Rugby leaflet at his local gym which he had recently started attending and decided it would be a good opportunity to get fit, have fun but most importantly increase his social activity. It was clear during the first Walking Rugby session that Howard had never previously come across the ‘offside law’, and it was only then he admitted he had never been involved in Rugby before, and in fact this was his first ever time throwing a rugby ball.
Ten weeks into the programme and Howard has attended every week at Crewe and Nantwich RUFC on Mondays and has since gone to attend the sessions at Sandbach RUFC on Wednesdays. He also attends the monthly socials and also attended the launch festival, which was held at the Sale Sharks Carrington training ground in August
Howard Coppenhall said on commenting about his experiences;
“Walking Rugby has got me out of the house and massively increased my social activity, it has been great to meet likeminded people. I find that attending the sessions, has had a very positive effect on my mental health and I now look forward to my Monday and Wednesday evenings. I would say I am most definitely a Sale Sharks fan now and will be coming to watch some of their games this season!”
Georgie Perris-Redding, Sharks Community Coach had this to say about Howard;
“Howard is a perfect example of how having no background in rugby is irrelevant when participating in Walking Rugby. No matter what age you start, you can still get the same amount of enjoyment from it that people who have been playing their whole life get. Again, highlighting how inclusive Walking Rugby really is. No matter what your background in sport is, its never too late to try something new!”
To find out more about the work of the Sale Sharks Community Trust, visit www.salesharks.com/community.