Newham Council wants residents to give rugby a try

21 March 2014 in 2012 Games and legacy and Health and Mayor
Newham Council is encouraging residents to give the sport of Rugby a try and be inspired by the fact that five matches are to be played at the Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during Rugby World Cup 2015.​
Mayor at the East London Rugby Club
The council is, subject to planning permission, set to invest £540,000 to upgrade facilities at the Memorial Ground in West Ham to enhance pitches, floodlights and clubhouse facilities and make the park a hub for Rugby and other sports.

Working with East London Community Sports Association, the council will also invest £130,000 in youth programmes over five years, including coaching in the borough’s primary schools. It is a priority under Newham’s Every Child a Sports Person programme pioneered by Mayor Sir Robin Wales to get young people trying something different. So far children as young as five in 14 schools are being taught the basics of the game and more are expressing interest.

Sir Robin said: “Newham is an official Host City of Rugby World Cup 2015 and it is important that we make the most of the opportunities that offers. Most people in the borough will probably be able to tell you goals from West Ham United’s Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters won the 1966 football World Cup for England, but not that a drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson won Rugby World Cup 2003 for England. Newham is traditionally football territory but we want to give people a choice.

“We are proud and excited to be hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 at the iconic Olympic Stadium. We look forward to greeting some of the world’s top teams and their fans. We want 2015 to be a celebration of Rugby and its unique qualities.”

Rugby World Cup 2003 winner, England’s Richard Hill, started the work to transform the pitches at the Memorial Ground with the Mayor and officials from Rugby World Cup 2015 tournament organisers England Rugby 2015 and from East London Rugby Football Club who play at the park.

Richard said: “What Newham Council are doing to improve Rugby at grassroots level is a good thing, especially with Rugby World Cup 2015 coming to the Olympic Stadium. I hope it inspires many young people to try Rugby and perhaps encourage some former players back into the sport.”