This month, we saw further progress within our Visually Impaired (VI) Rugby programme. Since successfully founding the pilot programme in 2016, we have been working with premiership rugby clubs across the UK, securing our sixth premiership club partnership earlier this month.
The VI Rugby programme was founded after we recognised that rugby players in the UK living with visual disabilities were not offered a safe and inclusive environment to play rugby. We hope that our partnerships with premiership clubs will help us to establish professional and grassroots VI rugby clubs across the UK. With calendar dates booked in professional Scottish and Irish rugby clubs next month, we hope to have the roots of VI rugby planted in every country across the UK by August this year.
Each year, our annual showcase event highlights just how far this new sport has come. Since 2017 our showcase development timeline has progressed significantly.
- 2017 – British Lions Tour – New Zealand.
- 2018 – Harlequins VI vs Wasps VI – Twickenham Stadium – The Big 10.
- 2019 – Japan Rugby World Cup – Tokyo.
- 2020 – Postponed due to Covid-19.
- 2021 – Wales VI vs England VI – Autumn International.
- 2022 – VI Rugby World Cup – Planning underway.
Our relationships with the premiership clubs has been pivotal in introducing this inclusive sport into our communities.
Earlier this month the Harlequins VI rugby team competed in the ‘Project Rugby’ mixed ability rugby tournament. The tournament is run by Gallagher, who also sponsor the official Gallagher Premiership.
Two coaches and a few players from our VI rugby team were later invited to Twickenham Stadium to watch Harlequins vs Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership. To the delight of our players, Harlequins claimed the victory!
We thank Gallagher for their hospitality and generosity throughout the Project Rugby tournament and for hosting us at Twickenham.
For more information on how to get involved please contact: Alex Bassan, Head of Business Development .