Coventry Rugby has launched their support for the new Coventry, a City of Rugby initiative, which aims to establish Coventry as one of the leading cities in the world for Rugby Union and Rugby League.

Members and fans at Coventry’s last home league game of the season on 23 April against Ampthill, were given information on the unique and ambitious initiative, which has been set up with the ultimate objective of establishing Coventry as one of the leading cities in the world for every level of the sport by 2023 – rugby’s 200th anniversary.

City of Rugby partners joined Chairman Jon Sharp and other leading club figures as special guests at the game as Coventry prop Matt Price collected his 150th cap for the club, leading out the team to a rapturous welcome.

Two local schools were also given special access to the players and pitch in the build up to the game. Courthouse Green and Henley Green primary schools performed a guard of honour to welcome out both teams and then entertained the crowd at half time with a game of tag rugby.

Both schools put their recently acquired skills into practice, having received rugby coaching as part of the Engage! Programme. The educational rugby initiative uses the core values of rugby (teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline) to provide social and educational benefits as a way of developing healthy, well-rounded, confident young people.

Working with key partners, Engage! also aims to bring rugby coaching to every child in the city and provide greater access to opportunities while promoting the core values to foster a real sense of belonging within local communities.

Chairman of Coventry Rugby, Jon Sharp said:

“We wholeheartedly support the City of Rugby initiative and we have welcomed playing our part in their development and delivery.

“We look forward to supporting the plans as we move forwards with our new Director of Rugby and his team towards the new season.

“We all really enjoyed the day and we were delighted to host the two schools which is an important part of our community engagement.”

Coventry, City of Rugby is a formal collaboration between key organisations in the city with an interest in the sport. They  will work together to form a coherent framework for the development of the game at all levels, with the aim of promoting both Rugby League and Rugby Union, and the sport’s core values.

Plans have been drawn-up by local sporting bodies, education providers and other leading figures as part of the ten year Coventry Sports Strategy, embedding rugby as one of the city’s key sports. It will involve developing the game from grassroots to the elite, driving up participation, coaching and volunteering across all ages and connecting schools, colleges, universities and communities with local rugby clubs to enhance existing development clusters.

The initiative aims to build on the region’s proud rugby heritage and through its eight vision aims and strategic objectives, plans have been developed to increase participation, improve rugby facilities, unlock funding to support clubs and attract major rugby events to the city There is a particular focus on making the game more accessible to women and girls, people with disabilities, and those from non-traditional rugby playing backgrounds.