More than 2,500 local school-children were given an opportunity to emulate their rugby heroes this week, as the Cardiff Blues Primary School Festival was held on the iconic Cardiff Arms Park pitch.
Primary schools from all five of the region’s unitary authorities were in attendance at the three-day festival, which has been ever-growing in popularity since its inception at the start of the regional era.
With rugby camps across the region flourishing, the tag festival was another example of the Cardiff Blues Community Foundation’s exceptional engagement work with schools and clubs from the length and breadth of the region.
Cardiff Blues Community Foundation director, Nadine Griffiths, was left delighted with the success of the festival, and believes it offers a perfect opportunity to encourage youngsters to play rugby.
Griffiths said: “The Primary School Tag Festival is one of the highlights of our calendar year as we are able to welcome schools from across the region to the Arms Park for a unique opportunity to play on this famous pitch.
“We’re proud to have had representation from every single unitary authority within our region, and it’s a testament to the work the Community Foundation is doing all-year round to engage with young players of all ages.
“The main focus of the festival is to give the children a fun experience of playing rugby. In some cases, it will be their first experience of playing rugby, and hopefully they will be encouraged to join their local clubs and continue to play the game.”
Those in attendance were treated to a surprise visit from former Cardiff Blues, Wales and British and Irish Lions star, Sam Warburton, who was appointed the Community Foundation’s ambassador earlier this year.
The 74-times capped former Welsh international was thoroughly impressed with the festival and hopes the community game around the region will benefit from the all-inclusive event.
Warburton, who was also delighted to see his former primary school, Llanishen Fach, in attendance, said: “These children have an opportunity to play and train on the Arms Park pitch, and it is a fantastic initiative in itself. The weather has been absolutely perfect this week and it’s worked out amazing.
“It’s amazing for these guys to come here and meet Cardiff Blues players, work with talented coaches and play on a really iconic pitch at the Arms Park. I didn’t get that opportunity when I was younger but it’s great to be able to give something back to the community as senior or retired players.
“The great thing about the event is that you have more than 2,500 kids coming to play rugby. Even if you have 300, 400, 500 or 1,000 of them wanting to come back and play rugby again, then it will be a massive win for Cardiff Blues.
“What we want to do is encourage people to play rugby, increase the bottom of the pyramid and get as many people involved in rugby in the region as possible, and this festival is a fantastic way to start that.
“Being a Cardiff Blues Community Foundation ambassador, I love attending the types of events. Since becoming a parent, I find it really good fun to come down and meet the children and try to make rugby fun for them.”
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