This week Gareth Alfie Thomas joined Future Blues Development Officer, Gary Knowles to the see the excellent work being carried out by the development team throughout the region.
Supporting the Health Challenge Wales programme the visits started in St Cyres School in the Vale of Glamorgan, the pair moved on to St Illtyds Roman Catholic High School in Cardiff, Rhydywaun Comprehensive School in the Rhondda and Cyfarthfa High School in Merhyr.
At each school, coaching sessions were given to the pupils and they had the opportunity to hear of Alfies experiences of Captaining Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
Fourteen Future Blues Development Officers work in the region and the next generation of rugby players have really taken to the new scheme which was launched last November. The first Future Blues rugby camp is already fully booked and there are only a few spaces left for the second camp.
Speaking after visiting the schools Gareth Thomas said,
Ive been really impressed with all the work done by the Blues and their development officers. One thing that you notice is seeing the involvement of the girls enjoying the activities and you have to give credit to all the development officers for their work.
"Its been a great day, I really enjoy going around schools and seeing the grass roots of rugby, the sports activities and seeing kids enjoying and getting fit."
Gary Knowles the Future Blues Development Officer who organised the events added,
We try do develop young players but public relations in a major part of it. St Illtyds are one of the rising schools. They were very good ten years ago and under Geraint theyve really picked up again and have been Cardiff school cup finalist over a number of years.
"Weve worked extremely hard, covering hundreds of schools and coaching thousands of children over the last year the response we have had from each are has been tremendous. Its been a wonderful day and one thing thats good about Alfie is that hes so good with young people. He enters into the spirit of things and as Wales Captain he sets a great example. They love and absolutely adore him and it will be a big shame the day he leaves the rugby scene but hopefully that will be a long way off.
Geraint Davies St Illtuds Head of Sport commented,
We have very close link with the Cardiff Blues and Gary Knowles has been a massive help. Last year he did a lot of work with the teams and helped the forwards and we reached a final competition.
"Its been a superb day kids absolutely delighted, something theyll remember for the rest of their lives. Its a very busy schedule, we have 5 teams to run and the girls side a lot of keen pupils who help out with the coaching.