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Saints Wheelchair Rugby partner with GBWR to launch new national Junior Programme

Northampton Saints have agreed a brand-new partnership with Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR) which will see Saints Wheelchair Rugby at the centre of a new national programme for junior players.

Saints’ own junior programme has gone from strength to strength since its launch back in 2018, building up a group of regular players in spite of the challenges to engagement presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Saints Wheelchair Rugby are also reigning WR5s Premiership champions and national Junior Wheelchair Rugby champions.

But now Northampton’s side have joined forces with GBWR with the aim of developing more provision for classifiable junior players within the game, and will now be delivering the governing body’s junior programme nationally.

Saints’ Inclusion Officer and Wheelchair Rugby Head Coach, Jamie Higgins, who will be leading the new programme, said: “At Saints we are passionate about sport for all, and we try to bring that passion into our own junior Wheelchair Rugby Club.

“We first started our junior sessions in 2018, but despite numbers initially dropping off during the pandemic, we have rebuilt that engagement and have plenty of new faces within our squad. We’re now really excited by the prospect of engaging more young players outside of our own club sessions.

“Junior players across all clubs need a focus for their Wheelchair Rugby as these young players are the future of the sport.”

Jamie Higgins, Saints Wheelchair Rugby coach

“What better way is there to support the growth of junior Wheelchair Rugby than to work in partnership with the sport's governing body, GBWR? We are absolutely delighted to be starting this partnership, and playing a part in the future of the sport’s growth nationally.”

As part of the relaunch of the programme, a festival for junior players aged 8-17 years will be held at Lodge Park Sports Centre, Corby, between 10am and 2pm on Saturday 18 March 2023.

Lauren Mawdsley, Club Development Manager at GBWR, added: “Following the return to play after the pandemic, there has been a gap in the development of juniors within Wheelchair Rugby.

“But, having seen the success of Saints Wheelchair Rugby’s own junior sessions, it will be great to see how the Club can help grow the junior programme nationally, and help more GBWR clubs provide activity to get more junior players involved.”

If you are a junior player looking to get involved in the festival or in wheelchair rugby, or a club wanting to start junior provision, please contact Jamie at [email protected].

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