Cardiff Blues held their first Open Training Session of the season at Penygriag RFC with hundreds of schoolchildren attending.
Following on from their win at Rodney Parade, there were a lot of happy faces in the Blues camp as they travelled to the Rhondda for the first of their community training sessions.
The Blues had previously held such sessions in Merthyr, the Vale of Glamorgan and Pontypridd, but this was the first time one had been held in the Rhondda and the welcome they received was fantastic.
The training session was held between 12.30 to 1.30 pm and there was an invitation to all the schools in Rhondda. Over 40 schools made the most of the invitation to come down and take a look at the first team training under the watchful eye of Director of Rugby Phil Davies.
The session was organised by Chris Jones the Valley Kids Rugby Development Officer for the Rhondda. Chris, who is a former coach of Pontypridd RFC and Treorchy RFC has been a Development Officer at Rhondda Schools for the past 18 years.
He works in conjunction with the Valleys Kids Initiative and covers rugby coaching in Primary Schools and Comprehensive Schools in the Rhondda. He is also the Rhondda Schools U15's District Rugby Coach.
Following the training session the schoolchildren had a chance to collect autographs from the Cardiff Blues stars as they prepare for Saturday’s match against Treviso, which will be the Regional Clubs Day.
Every club within the Cardiff Blues region can claim up to 25 complimentary tickets to watch the match with this being the only chance this season for clubs to watch a match at the Arms Park for absolutely free.
The Regional Clubs Day is now firmly part of the Blues calendar and a celebration of rugby in the Blues region and the Blues expect to welcome over 30 clubs to the match.
Speaking at the event, Chris Jones the Valley Kids Rugby Development Officer said,
“I’m absolutely delighted with the turn out.”
“As a Rhondda man born and bred, I know that people up here over the years, have quite rightly felt a bit out on a limb with the Blues region but the Blues should be commended and applauded for coming up here and I’m really pleased that the Rhondda has come out to support them.”
“I think that it shows there is definite support for Cardiff Blues in the Rhondda Valleys.”
“It’s great that schoolchildren have a chance to see their heroes up close.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for them and hopefully it’s gives them inspiration to emulate them in the future.”
“We have our first Dewar Shield match on Saturday and are the holders having beaten Cardiff schools in a close final in the Millennium Stadium.”
“What’s great is to see our local boys who came through our system out on the pitch.”
“Players like Lou Reed, Macauley Cook and Thomas Davies are now playing for the Blues.”