ALDI’s Play Rugby season drew to a close this week with a record number of 117,286 students from nearly 800 primary schools across Ireland taking part in the programme between September 2021 and May 2022.

That is more than the entire population of registered rugby players and paints a bright future for participation in the sport.

On Wednesday, the National ALDI Play Rugby Festival took place in Aviva Stadium, where over 300 children from 16 schools across Ireland had the chance to follow in the footsteps of Irish rugby heroes and play in Aviva Stadium. Additionally, the lucky students were afforded the chance to meet a selection of Ireland rugby Internationals.

This national event follows a series of regional festivals that took place throughout the four provinces earlier this year. From there, 16 schools were selected to visit Aviva Stadium on May 18th.

Amongst the rugby stars who were on hand to put the lucky participants through their paces were Ireland Internationals and ALDI Brand Ambassadors, James Ryan and Beibhinn Parsons.

Developed by the IRFU and supported by ALDI, the programme is a free, supervised and non-contact rugby programme that provides boys and girls with a fun introduction to the sport.

Schools are offered access to invaluable resources including sessions with Community Rugby Officers, online coaching resources and free coaching equipment.

“It was fantastic to see the girls and boys really enjoying the ALDI Play Rugby National festival,” said Parsons.

“I benefited from being introduced to sport from a young age and it’s wonderful to see over 117,000 kids have had the chance to participate in the programme already this year. Well done to all who took part.”

“This programme is an amazing one that gives schools across the country the opportunity to avail of much needed facilities for their students. It is a great feeling to be able to return to hosting such amazing days following the ease of restrictions.

“t has been wonderful to have the opportunity to visit Aviva Stadium today and witness the enthusiasm and excitement from the 16 schools participating today,” said IRFU President Des Kavanagh. “My thanks, on behalf of the Irish Rugby Football Union, to our friends in ALDI for their ongoing support for this invaluable programme, and help in making today an unforgettable day for the lucky participants.”




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