A new initiative has been launched to establish Coventry as one of the leading cities in the world for Rugby.
Coventry, a City of Rugby (CoR) is a unique and ambitious initiative 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.
It is a formal collaboration between key organisations in the Coventry that have an interest in rugby, who 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 (teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline) across the city.
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 and 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, with a particular focus on making the game more accessible to women and girls, people with disabilities, and those from non-traditional rugby playing backgrounds.
A Steering Group has been established with representatives from all major rugby interests in the city to oversee the seven-year strategy. The group is co-ordinated by the Engage! Coventry programme, working closely with the RFU and RFL.
Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director at the Rugby Football Union (RFU), said:
As the national governing body for rugby union in England, we are committed to developing the game from the grassroots to the elite level across the country.
Coventry, a City of Rugby, is a pioneering initiative which will work to achieve that. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Engage! and the RFL to deliver this fantastic programme which will help to grow participation and promote the core values of our game.
Jon Roberts, Director of Performance and Development at the Rugby Football League (RFL), said:
Coventry has a proud history of pioneering Rugby League within the Midlands, with Coventry Bears having won major honours in the past including the National League and providing a stepping stone for players at the Midland Regional Academy to play at the highest level.
We look forward to building upon this reputation through the delivery of the City of Rugby initiative, which will develop rugby league in the region and create a player pathway to support talented coaches, players, volunteers and referees across both rugby league and union.
Tom Clift, Programme Manager of educational rugby initiative Engage! Coventry, said:
We have a fantastic and unique opportunity to seize the moment and build on Coventry’s rich rugby heritage, inspiring people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to regularly participate in the game.
The City of Rugby initiative is not just about getting people involved in playing or coaching rugby - we also recognise the integral role the core values of the game can play in uniting communities, addressing public health inequalities and promoting educational, social and behavioural change within targeted groups, which we aim to maximise and promote to build a better city
The City of Rugby Steering Group is a formal collaboration between the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Rugby Football League (RFL), Engage! Coventry, Coventry Sports Network, Coventry Rugby, Wasps, Coventry Bears, Warwickshire RFU, Premiership Rugby, Coventry Sports Foundation, Coventry Sports Trust, Coventry City Council, University of Warwick, Coventry University, C&W Chamber of Commerce, Coventry Schools Union and the Millerchip Family Fund.