Boost to youth rugby

Boost to youth rugby at St Mark’s

In a city such as Bath, the sport of Rugby is second nature to many and none more so that the students at St Mark’s School.

They have recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of students playing the game, both male and female, as a result of an exciting partnership with their local rugby club and the RFU.

The RFU have provided funding to supply new kits to the lower and upper school A Teams as well as coaching for the girl’s rugby squad. This donation, along with a new collaborative partnership with Avon Rugby Club provides a major boost to youth rugby in the east of Bath.

St Mark’s School is located in the vibrant community of Larkhall and plays host to a number of community-based sports clubs who wish to use their all-weather, floodlit pitch facilities. However, when it comes to rugby, the school do not have suitable playing facilities on site. A new partnership with local club, Avon Rugby Club, has changed all of that as school teams are now discovering.

Julie Swann, Rugby Development Officer for the RFU commented:

“The local RFU staff identified that the school were not playing a lot of rugby and a local rugby club were aiming to recruit a new age group and so through building a relationship between school and club it would greatly improve the playing experience of the boys and girls at both school and club.”

“Working alongside Head of PE, Steve Leonard at St Mark’s, Matt Sutherland from Avon RFC and Ian Smith from RFU, we were able to establish what the local needs were and then work on bringing all key stakeholders together.”

Head of PE at St Mark’s, Steve Leonard said,

“Sporting teams, both school based and locally based have utilised the facilities at St Mark’s well in recent years, but unfortunately they are not suitable for rugby fixtures and this has been disappointing for our school teams,” said Steve Leonard, Head of PE at St Mark’s School.

“Being based on a hill makes for great physical training for our rugby players, but sadly means that until now our fixtures have all had to be away. We are really pleased that this is no longer an issue for our sports men and women and everyone is really excited to have our own ‘home’ facility.”

“The RFU have been very supportive of our ambitions and through their donation our teams can now compete wearing the latest kits and using first class facilities.”

The teams have already seen success on the field with a string of victories over local schools as well as
collaborative projects with local primary schools to share in the benefits of this development and new community partnership.

“The equipment will facilitate increased sessions of rugby across the age group, improving the enjoyment of the boys and sustaining activity over the coming years,” said Julie.

“We hope to have helped establish a long-standing relationship between the school and club, leading to more players enjoying rugby at school and wanting to join Avon RFC to continue their rugby journey.”

Head of School, Chris Ryan, commented,

“It is through working with the RFU and Avon RFC that St Mark’s are able to offer students unique opportunities that they would never get in a larger institution.”

“We are incredibly grateful to both the RFU and Avon Rugby Club for their support and look forward to the partnership developing even further in the coming years.”

For more information relating to this article, please contact Paula Hawkins at St Mark’s School on 01225 312661 or email