Energia’s goal is to help grow participation in the game of rugby among people with physical or learning difficulties to over 1,000 players in 40 clubs in Leinster by 2028.
Energia have launched the ‘Rugby for All’ initiative in partnership with Leinster Rugby. As proud sponsors of Leinster Rugby, Energia want people with a love of the game who have a physical or learning disabilities to Think of the Possibilities by getting involved in ‘Rugby for All’ in their local communities.
Energia have conducted extensive research to understand the landscape of the game for those with physical and learning difficulties. From the resulting research findings, Energia have planned a significant level of activity over the remainder of the partnership with Leinster Rugby, which runs to 2028.
As part of the initiative, Energia has been working closely with Neurodiversity Ireland and held the first Energia Rugby for All Blitz on Sunday the 10th of September 2023 in Energia Park.
Teams from around Leinster came to participate including the Westmanstown Wasps, Wicklow Warriors, Railway Steamers, DLSP Eagles, and MU Barnhall Buffaloes.
The day saw appearances from Leinster players Ross and Martyn Moloney, Will Connors, Thomas Clarkson, Dan Leavy, Jordi Murphy, and Mike Ross who all got involved in the games, giving everyone a chance to play on a team with pro rugby players!
DLSP coach David Hicks was there to make sure the games ran smoothly. He was joined by former Ireland player Bernard Jackman and Ireland player Brittany Hogan afterward for a panel discussion about the importance of exercise for wellbeing, the Energia Rugby for All Initiative, the need for more inclusivity in sport, and discussions about recent and upcoming Rugby World Cup Matches.
Energia have also issued sensory toolkits to rugby clubhouses across Leinster with aim of making the trip to their local club more enjoyable for those with sensory issues. James Martin, the world’s first actor with Down Syndrome to win an Oscar award, and an active tag rugby player was on hand to help launch the initiative as an ambassador.
Click Here to see some photos from the day
Having conducted extensive research including focus groups, depth interviews and surveys among over 250 participants across 64 clubs in Leinster, the key findings include:
- Currently 520 players playing in 26 rugby clubs across Leinster
- The top priority among respondents was to grow the ‘Rugby for All’ community i.e. rugby players and volunteers with physical or learning difficulties.
- Awareness of the ‘Rugby for All’ community and the opportunities for players with physical or learning difficulties to play rugby was at 22%
- The key barrier to growing the ‘Rugby for All’ community was stated as a lack of volunteers/coaches (23%)
- When asked about the perceived level of support this game receives from sponsors or third parties, the average rating was 2.8 out of 5.
- When asked about the role a sponsor could play in developing the ‘Rugby for All’ community, responses centred around the supply of equipment, growth of awareness and training support all received roughly half of votes.
To find out more about our Rugby for All programme check out our Rugby for All - Strategic Plan
Andrew got to visit Leinster HQ and get a behind the scenes tour, participate in a training session and attend the Leinster V Edinburgh game at the RDS.