Ireland star to lead Aldi Play Rugby Programme

by Stephen Findlater

James Ryan kicked off his role as ambassador for the Aldi Play Rugby Programme this week with a socially-distant delivery of training equipment to Scoil Maelruain, Old Bawn, Tallaght.

The school will be among the primary schools participating in the programme with online support from the IRFU community rugby officers and underpins Aldi’s ongoing commitment to and support of rugby as the Official Fresh Food partner to the IRFU.

The former St Michael’s College man, who has amassed 28 international caps, is looking forward to his new role which he hopes will promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.

“I know that next week 12 schools who entered the Aldi Play Rugby Sticker Competition will be getting great news and I am hoping that when travel restrictions are lifted, I will get the opportunity to visit one or two of those primary schools to see what they did with the funds given to them by Aldi to improve their sports facilities.

“I started playing rugby at a young age and the sport has taught me the value of being a team player, of thinking of others on and off the pitch and I am sure that the values that are being instilled in children through the Aldi Play Rugby programme will stay with them for many years”.

James Ryan Announced As New Aldi Play Rugby Programme Ambassador. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

A national IRFU programme for primary school children, Aldi Play Rugby is a free, supervised and non-contact rugby programme that provides everything schools need to get started, including sessions with local IRFU staff, online coaching resources and free coaching equipment.

The overall objective of the programme is to encourage school children to get active, participate in regular exercise in a safe and controlled environment and to eat healthily.

Since its launch, over 116,000 children from over 1,300 primary schools across the country signed up to take part. This is an increase of 71% in just over 4 years. There are 150 teachers across the country that are now trained on the program, an increase of 275% since 2016.

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