As a kid watching sport on TV, what you really want to do after the game is run out in the garden and pretend to be the stars you have just seen. It’s a powerfully evocative memory from childhood and a deep reason why so many of us grow up to love sport.
After Ireland play Scotland in their opening game at the Rugby World Cup hundreds of boys and girls will take that to the ultimate stage due to an innovative new promotion from Aviva.
The insurer, a main partner of Irish Rugby and of the Aviva Stadium, are offering Mini Rugby teams around the country the opportunity to play their own Mini Rugby Nations Cup in Aviva Stadium.
The search is on fo ra total of 20 Boys’ U10 and Girls’ U12 teams to play in a tournament, which will be held at Aviva Stadium on Sunday, September 22 – the same day as Ireland’s opening clash against Scotland in Yokohama.
Each Minis club will be twinned with a team competing in Japan, while representing their local club at the home of Irish Rugby.
It can’t be called a Mini Rugby World Cup but it is that to all intents and purposes and what a way to bring the tournament to life in the wide eyed look of a childs eye.
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray was on hand to launch the campaign alongside minis players in Aviva Stadium today.
“I’m delighted to help launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup,” said Conor Murray who was on hand at the Stadium to launch the tournament.
“Looking back on my time playing with my local club, Garryowen when I was younger, it would have been a dream to play in Aviva Stadium with my friends, particularly during such an exciting time for Irish Rugby.”
“Every Irish Rugby player once dreamed of playing in Aviva Stadium and it’s great that Aviva is giving the opportunity to so many clubs to get involved. Running out of the tunnel is such a buzz on match day, and it will be incredibly exciting for kids to experience this at the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup.”
The event will spearhead Aviva’s #SafeToDream campaign, which celebrates how kids’ dreams are the same as their Ireland rugby counterparts.
“Aviva are proud supporters of Irish Rugby, Aviva Mini Rugby Festivals and Aviva Stadium,” added Aviva Sponsorship Manager Lisa Bergin.
“We are delighted to bring all our sponsorships together today to offer Minis players around the country the opportunity to play their own Mini Rugby Nations Cup here in Aviva Stadium while the Irish Team are away in Japan.”
“We want to encourage kids to play rugby in a safe and fun environment and we are delighted to make the dreams of young children come true by playing on the same pitch as their Irish Rugby heroes, including Conor Murray.”
“This is an incredible opportunity and we want to encourage rugby clubs from all corners of the country to get involved.”
Clubs can sign up to take part at the Aviva Safe to Dream campaign site.
Aviva has also announced the regional dates and locations for the 2019 Aviva Mini Rugby Provincial Festivals, which will take place in October, running concurrently with events in Japan.
These festivals offer both girls’ and boys’ the opportunity to develop as players at grassroots level throughout the country. Four provincial locations have been chosen, with the festivals taking place in the following clubs:
- 6th October: Munster Provincial Festival – UL Bohemians, Limerick
- 12th October: Ulster Provincial Festival – Bangor, Co. Down
- 13th October: Leinster Provincial Festival – DLS Palmerston, Dublin
- 19th October: Connacht Provincial Festival – Corinthians, Galway
Hundreds of boys and girls will get to play with their club’s Minis teams in provincial festivals and each participating team are in with the chance of being picked to play in the National Festival, which is held in Aviva Stadium in May each year.
Image credit: Brendan Moran, Sportsfile