The Cardiff Rugby Community Foundation have launched a wheelchair rugby team, as they continue to ensure there are playing opportunities for people of all backgrounds throughout the region.
Sport Wales’ National Centre proved a fitting venue for the launch on Sunday, just days after ParalympicsGB won wheelchair rugby gold in Tokyo - a side which included Wales’ very own, Jim Roberts.
The Community Foundation team were joined by friends from Disability Sport Wales, Welsh Rugby Union, Dragons, Ospreys, GB Wheelchair Rugby and Sport Cardiff as they gave potential team members and supporters a taste of the sport.
The team are now recruiting players to represent the club, with training being held every Sunday and fixtures against fellow Welsh sides in the pipeline.
The Cardiff Rugby Community Foundation’s inclusion and volunteer co-ordinator, Owain Marchbank explains: “This has been a great opportunity to really showcase the sport, show how fun and inclusive it is and it’s another asset to Cardiff Rugby that gives more people more playing opportunities.
“The launch wouldn’t be possible without the excellent support we’ve received from Welsh Rugby Union, Disability Sport Wales, GB Wheelchair Rugby and, of course, the Dragons and Ospreys wheelchair rugby sides, who were more than happy to help us out.
“It’s come at the right time with GB winning a gold medal last weekend. It was a fantastic effort from them and it’s really put the sport in the limelight. It’s brought the sport to the forefront of the media.
“Yes, there is a performance aspect to it but it’s also very inclusive. We have people here who hadn’t previously even thought about getting involved in a sport, never mind wheelchair rugby.
“We’re going to be training every Sunday and looking at organising Welsh fixtures in December and it’s a combination of social aspects alongside performance.
“People are competitive when they play sport and this still allows them to do that.
“Over the last three to four months, what we’ve shown is how rugby has evolved and how inclusive the sport is through different formats.
“This is just another aspect of the Community Foundation and what we deliver in order to show that there is a jersey for all.”
The launch also saw the already-established Dragons and Ospreys sides going head-to-head in an exhibition side, giving an entertaining and competitive insight into the sport for those in attendance.
Sport Cardiff’s Disability Sport Development Coordinator, Joanna Coates-McGrath, added: “It’s brilliant to see so many people enjoying themselves and taking part in a fantastic sport.
“It’s also just awesome to see people enjoying sports again, after the last couple of years of empty sports halls, and to hear the noise and be back in that team sport atmosphere once again.
“I’m really excited and the timing is perfect, especially off the back of the Paralympics and the GB team winning gold.
“There is so much interest around the sport now due to so much visibility in the media so this is the perfect time to launch this new project in Cardiff and inspire more people to get involved.
“There is such a wide variety of opportunities in the Cardiff area and beyond for disabled people to get involved.
“I would encourage anyone to get involved with their local disability sport officer to find out what’s available and how to give it a try.
“Whether you’re taking part for fun or trying to compete at the highest level, make those first steps, get in contact and get involved!”
For more information, please contact [email protected] or follow @CRugbyCommunity on Twitter for all of the latest news!