Pupils from St Joseph’s Specialist School and College in Cranleigh took part in a workshop where they designed their school team’s rugby shirt, to be produced and donated by Canterbury, the official kit supplier to England Rugby and the Official Partner to All Schools.
They were joined by 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson who was unveiled as an ambassador for All Schools. As well as creating his own shirt design, Jonny spoke to the attendees about what it means to be part of a team, the importance of the shirt, and what playing for his school, clubs and England meant to him.
The Canterbury kit design workshops are part of the All Schools programme which was launched in 2012 by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in partnership with the Rugby Football Foundation.
All Schools is a programme to help more state secondary school children play rugby and to encourage new players to join local clubs. From September 2014, 100 new schools will join All Schools, of which St Joseph’s Specialist School and College is one. With this additional group on board, All Schools will have over 300 schools participating since the initiative was launched.
The Canterbury Kit Design workshops saw lucky pupils learn about the history, heritage, values and importance of the rugby shirt. One of Canterbury’s experienced designers talked pupils through the process of designing a shirt, as well as the key elements to consider when creating their own design - from thought process to practicability.
Schools were given a unique opportunity to create a shirt to be worn by their school rugby team, which Canterbury will produce and supply free of charge. The third year of All Schools coincides with the RFU’s legacy plans for Rugby World Cup 2015, hosted by England.
Jonny Wilkinson said: “It’s been great to come here today to Streatham Croyden RFC and meet some of the students and teachers who are benefitting from All Schools.”
“Rugby’s not just about running around chasing a ball, it is about being part of a team and changing your life. As I’ve seen here today, it can have such a positive impact and energy for so many people.”
Canterbury CEO, Chris Stephenson said: “We’re passionate about working together with the RFU on the All Schools project and are looking forward to supporting these new schools by providing kit and the unique opportunity to design their own team shirt. It’s been fantastic to see the impact rugby has had on the students taking part over the last two years and encouraging that the schools are building such strong club links.”
St Joseph’s Specialist School and College took part in the Canterbury Kit Design workshop Streatham-Croyden on 2nd October.
Stuart Lancaster, England Head Coach said: “The match shirt is a source of huge pride for the players. When they are presented with it before an international it is a very special moment for them and the whole squad. By teaching these pupils who are new to the game the core values of rugby union and the history of the shirt, I’m sure that these school teams will share the same passion for their own design.”
Schools that are new to rugby are identified in regional clusters and supported over three years with a tailored programme to meet the school’s individual needs, including links to a local club. By establishing relationships with rugby clubs it will help the school and club to retain more players and expand the game.
Report and pictures contributed by Bird Consultancy.