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HKRFU Summer Rugby Training Course marks 10th year in 2014

This week sees the hosting of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s tenth annual Summer Rugby Training Course. The programme, which is subvented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, has introduced more than 15,000 youth to the joy of Rugby in the past decade, while also stressing the importance of maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

Priced to engage the wider-community at HKD300, the seven-week course continues to be one of the most popular grassroots initiatives run by the HKRFU and has once again a attracted a strong complement of participants in 2014. Over 1,200 participants, aged four to 17, will take part this summer. The programmes are run in both Cantonese and English at eight centres on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and in the New Territories. The course encompasses 14 sessions across seven weeks and concludes with a final competition day.

The course has helped uncover some of Hong Kong’s leading players with Tsang Hing Hung, Kwok Ka Chun and Salom Yiu Kam Shing among several programme graduates that have gone on to represent Hong Kong at the highest international level. Tsang Hing Hung commented on his formative experiences at the Summer Rugby Course saying, “I attended my first summer course when I was fourteen. I was playing tag rugby at the time and took the course to learn how to play contact rugby.

“I enrolled for two years and was selected from the course to join the Hong Kong youth team. I have been representing Hong Kong ever since. Later, I coached the minis and girls summer courses so it was great to have a chance to give back to the programme that supported me so well.

“The course offers a great opportunity for beginners and a chance to learn the basic rugby skills and rules. But it also changes the kids’ lifestyles very positively by giving them regular training and competition. A lot of participants get hooked on rugby and become avid followers of the game. It is a really important channel to develop the growth of rugby in the local community.

“I think all kids should try it and you never know, you may be discovered there and can perhaps even play for Hong Kong one day,” Tsang added.

The training courses are presented with the support of coaches and players from the HKRFU Mini Rugby and Colts Rugby clubs and provide a variety of training sessions and tournament style competitions. Mr Brandon Huang, Head of Community Rugby and Development at the HKRFU, commented on the Summer Rugby Courses saying, “The Summer Rugby Course is one of the real achievements of the HKRFU community development programme. The aim is to bring rugby to every level of the community and with the support of the LCSD we are achieving that. “After 10 years we have helped introduce 15,000 youth to the game, many of whom have maintained their involvement and a select few have even gone on to achieve representative honours for the SAR around the world.

“Priced to appeal to the wider community and with courses run in both Cantonese and English, the Summer Rugby course helps deliver on the HKRFU’s promise of making Rugby ‘A game for All in Hong Kong’,” said Huang. In June, the HKRFU successfully concluded its Adult Beginner’s Rugby course. The course attracted 310 participants (193 males and 117 females). A high percentage of these participants will advance to HKRFU domestic senior rugby, playing for one of 17 clubs in the local league.

The high number of introductory rugby programme participants that continue on into structured rugby competition is helping to fuel the HKRFU’s 10% year on year growth in the Hong Kong rugby community.

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