SHARKS AND BATH JOIN FORCES TO RAISE DOWN’S SYNDROME AWARENESS

Sale Sharks and Bath players and match officials will mark World Down Syndrome Day 2024 at the Rec on Sunday by running out in odd socks. 

People with Down’s Syndrome have an extra copy of the sock-shaped 21st chromosome, and to raise awareness of the genetic condition, the Down’s Syndrome Association launched the ‘Lots of Socks’ campaign. 

Last week the Sale Sharks Women players wore odd socks for their Premiership Women’s Rugby clash against Ealing at the Salford Stadium. 

And on Sunday, international stars like Manu Tuilagi, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Finn Russell, as well as referee Adam Leal and his assistants, will don different coloured socks for the Gallagher Premiership fixture in support of World Down Syndrome Day 2024 (Thursday 21st March). 

This is the fourth time Sharks have thrown their support behind the ‘Lots of Socks’ campaign by wearing odd socks in a high-profile fixture, demonstrating the club’s ongoing commitment to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to play rugby.  

A huge part of that commitment is the club’s Down’s syndrome team – the Sharks Crusaders Fin Club – which was launched in 2020 and named in recognition of Sean Browne, who played for the team until his death. His favourite team was the New Zealand Super Rugby side, the Crusaders. 

Sale Sharks Brand and Community Manager and Women’s player Vicky Irwin said: “This will be our fourth year of wearing odd socks in recognition of World Down Syndrome Day.  

“Our ethos as a club is to be much more than just a rugby club, and we’re incredibly proud to have the world’s first Down’s syndrome rugby team, which is growing year on year. As a club we are so passionate about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to play rugby and we are leading the way on this.    

“The Sharks Crusaders Fin Club is part of our club DNA, and we will continue to put all our energy into growing it and encouraging as many people with Down’s syndrome as possible to get involved. 

“This year it’s great to have the support of Bath and our match officials. This is such an important cause, and the more people get behind it, the more inclusive our game will become.” 

Down Syndrome rugby sessions are held every other Sunday at Sharks’ Carrington training ground. To find out more about Sale Sharks’ Shark Fin Crusaders Club, visit Disability & Inclusive Tag Rugby | Sale Sharks

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