More than 100 children from Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools across the Cardiff Blues region attended a hugely successful Disability World Cup on Wednesday.
The event at the National Indoor Athletic Centre at Cardiff Met showcased Cardiff Blues Community Foundation’s commitment to deliver opportunities for all.
Children took part in several skill-based activities and drills before representing their adopted nations in tailored games of tag rugby to suit varying abilities.
Jo Williams, the foundation’s disability officer, said: “Today is all about bringing the five unitary authorities and all the SEN schools within that together to show that rugby is a game for all.
“We have focussed on learning the basic skills of rugby, and that’s transferable to all sports, but also general wellbeing, whether that is physically, socially or mentally.
“The children have had loads of fun and it doesn’t matter what your ability is. For some children just catching a ball or scoring a try can be the highlight of their week. It is so rewarding to see all the children here and it’s great to have the support of so many schools.”
During the last year the Cardiff Blues Community Foundation have worked with 50,000 people, using the power and values of rugby to inspire, engage and improve opportunities for all.
One of the children in attendance, TJ from Riverbank Special School in Cardiff, was representing New Zealand and thoroughly enjoyed the day.
He said: “It has been so much fun, and I am so happy I have met all of you. I loved playing games in the inflatable cage, meeting all of you guys and throwing the ball around with friends.
“Friends are the most important thing in the world and sport is good for you. It really helps you, and keeps you fit, healthy and happy.”
During the morning, children were treated to a visit from Cardiff Blues first team players Dan Fish and James Down, who took time out of their pre-season training to join in the activities.
The Blues duo assisted foundation coaches on the skill stations before joining in one of the matches, with Fish’s team coming out on top.
Down added: “It think there was a little bit of cheating going on from Fishy but it’s been a brilliant day.
“We’re here to encourage participation in rugby for all and this is great opportunity with lots of different abilities, boys and girls, enjoying rugby together, which is the most important thing.
“The foundation does a fantastic job, and this is just another example of what they do, there are 100s of kids here all having fun.
“Just to get in the mix here is great and it is brilliant to see how much enjoyment the children are getting from taking part.”
Plans are already being drawn up another similar event in September, while the Cardiff Blues Community Foundation run weekly disability rugby sessions. To find out more click here.