Ahead of this year’s RBS RugbyForce coming up this weekend, one of the programme’s ambassadors Ieuan Evans caught up with The Rugby Blog to discuss the importance of the project, and how it continues to go from strength to strength.
With work being carried out in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, Evans this year will be taking part in a rejuvenation project down at Hendy RFC in west Wales, who along with Wortley RUFC (England) and Waysiders Drumpellier (Scotland) were selected from around 400 applicants to undergo a special makeover worth £5000.
For Evans, RBS RugbyForce is “an incredibly strong project”, stating that at its core “Rugby is a community game, and without that the international and club sides could not survive without the raw material, which is the players. Rugby is so often about maths, and you need the numbers to play the game, and the junior clubs across the United Kingdom and Ireland generate that raw material. It’s these clubs that need the support, which is why I love this project so much.”
Evans will be joined at Hendy RFC by rising star George North, who he described as having “a huge future ahead of him”, and established international Mike Phillips. Both players originate from West Wales much like Evans himself, whose father incidentally played for Hendy back in the 1950s.
Speaking on the players’ enthusiasm for the event, Evans commented how “we all came through junior sections at rugby clubs who have all supported us individually and we have a lot of contact with club’s coaches and many friends back there as well. Everyone has such a key role to play in the clubs, not just the coaches but everyone who keeps the facilities at a sufficient quality, which all emphasizes that sense of community.”
Another factor behind the rejuvenation process was ensuring that the clubs became places that people wanted to be around and be involved in, and hopefully “to attract more people and make the clubs popular places to go.” Evans was keen to stress however that RBS RugbyForce was just “a trigger” for clubs to achieve stability and secure funding for the future. “The work itself is not solely going to ensure the long-term viability of these clubs but it can act as a trigger to create more community support.”
Now in its fourth year, Evans believes that the project can become a consistent annual event given the incredible amount of interest and applications submitted from across the British Isles. “With more people becoming aware of it, the campaign in turn becomes more popular and generates greater public interest. There is serious support from the higher powers in the rugby unions, and with each individual success more momentum is generated which means that the projects can only get bigger and better.”
Ieuan Evans spoke to The Rugby Blog to promote the RBS RugbyForce weekend, which takes place across the UK on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June. RBS RugbyForce is a nationwide community volunteer programme which helps local rugby clubs to improve their facilities. To find out if your club is participating visit rbs.co.uk/rugbyforce and join in the chat at facebook.com/rbsrugbyforce.