The development of rugby at grassroots level is set for a major boost after the International Rugby Board (IRB) chose Zimbabwe as one of the two African countries who will benefit from the “IRB Get Into Rugby” programme.
Zimbabwe and Tunisia are the only African countries who will benefit from the pilot programme which is meant to attract new rugby players and increase participation in the game.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union interim general manager Sifiso Made said the new initiative would be a huge boost for the union’s grassroots development programme.
“We are glad that the IRB has chosen us and Tunisia as the only African countries who will benefit from this programme as it will be a huge boost in the development of the sport at grassroots level. The programme will come with its own annual grants which is separate from the one we get annually from the IRB,” said Made in an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday.
Other countries around the world who will benefit from the pilot project include Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, China and five other countries who are yet to be named.
The IRB Get Into Rugby programme is part of the IRB strategy to support the growth of the game globally in partnership with member unions.
The aim of the programme is to encourage children to “Try-Play-Stay”.
The initial phase of the programme will be to get children to try rugby in clubs, schools and local communities and learn the experience, values, passion and skills of rugby supported by trained coaches, teachers and leaders. Players will progress to play all the different types of the game such as Touch, Sevens and Fifteens in a safe, fun environment in leagues, festivals, events and programmes after an initial training period.