COYS Touch Rugby has been an established club made up of Saints supporters for the last few years, competing in the Saints’ Summer Touch League and regularly playing friendly matches in the Northampton area, including against Hitz Northampton.
Last Saturday was the first time COYS has taken on a team from another Aviva Premiership club, with the Warriors community foundation using the opportunity to give youngsters from its flagship Homeless Rugby project the opportunity to try their hand at Touch Rugby.
The game was played on one of the Sixways training pitches, with both teams then sitting with each other for the Aviva Premiership clash between the Warriors and Saints later in the afternoon.
COYS won 11-3, but according to coach Tim Webb the game was more about helping use rugby as a positive engagement tool.
“Saturday was a cracking afternoon for us,” he said. “We’ve played teams from Hitz Northampton on a number of occasions, and it was good to use this kind of opportunity to help another club’s own community project as well.
“The Worcester lads were inexperienced, but they were enthusiastic and played in the spirit of Touch Rugby. It is something that we would definitely repeat with another Aviva Premiership club given the opportunity, especially when it doubles up with a Saints first team game!”
Worcester’s homeless rugby team has been put together by the Warriors community foundation with Worcestershire YMCA, with the aim to raise confidence and self-esteem amongst participants by giving them a lot of positive experiences through rugby.
Warriors community coach Dave Rogers said that the youngsters got a lot out of Saturday’s game, despite the result.
“The lads really enjoyed the game on Saturday and were really positive about the future,” he commented. “One of them said: ‘I don't mind that we lost the game because I've had a great time and it has got me out of the hostel for an afternoon.’
“We hope to arrange several friendlies between now and the end of the season, before entering some of the competitions run through the summer. We will also look to train the participants as coaches or referees and provide them with opportunities to volunteer.
“We're really grateful to the COYS team for coming to Worcester and giving the team their first game. Actually having matches to play is a great motivation to get people attending training! The whole day showed the true spirit of the game, 15 people from different backgrounds having a great time playing and watching rugby.”