Four Year 10 students from Wilmslow High School are amongst the first to be chosen as ambassadors for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Sophie Kraunsoe, Sophie Wilson, Sorrell Cowen and Dan Waters were selected after Wilmslow High School was named as one of 14 schools in the country to be involved in the first stage of the School Rugby Ambassador programme.
England 2015 Ambassador, Will Greenwood and England Rugby player, Fran Matthews, joined students to promote the new initiative at a tag Rugby tournament, which was organised as part of National School Sport Week which runs from June 23rd to 27th.
The programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the Rugby Football Union and the Youth Sport Trust, encourages young people aged 14-18 to become School Rugby Ambassadors and develop their leadership skills through organising activities that encourage their peers to play the game and build excitement for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Following an initial application process which was open to Youth Sport Trust Secondary Members, 14 schools were selected in or around Rugby World Cup 2015 host cities to encourage other schools to become involved and link up with local primary schools, with the aim of them forming a network of School Rugby Ambassadors for that area.
With years of experience between them playing at the highest level of the game, both Will and Fran got stuck into the tag Rugby tournament and provided tips on skills and technique needed in the game. They also delivered rugby masterclasses to over 100 year 7 and 8 students, focusing on how the core values of respect, enjoyment, discipline and teamwork are important in every aspect of the game, from playing and coaching to leading and officiating.
Chief Executive of England Rugby 2015, Debbie Jevans, said: "Through this partnership with the RFU and Youth Sport Trust we are engaging young people in RWC 2015 and helping to spread the excitement around Manchester and the rest of the country as we head towards the Tournament. We want young people to play an important role in welcoming the world to this proud Rugby nation and this initiative will give an excellent opportunity for fans, players and visitors to interact with schools and the local community."
Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, John Steele, said: "It is fantastic to launch the School Rugby Ambassador programme in our weeklong celebration of sport that is inspiring so many young people across the country. The energy and enthusiasm of the young leaders will help to drive excitement in schools about the Tournament and hopefully encourage thousands of young people to get involved with Rugby."
The partnership of the Rugby Football Union, England Rugby 2015 and Youth Sport Trust has also created an interactive, innovative resource website which aims to bring Rugby World Cup 2015 to life in schools throughout the country. Designed by a group of teachers, the site is packed with resources and offers ideas and materials to incorporate rugby into a range of subjects as part of the build-up to next year's Rugby World Cup.
RFU Rugby Development Director, Steve Grainger, said: "This is an exciting project to help us raise awareness of Rugby in schools and inspire more young people to play the game or be involved in the sport in other ways.
"Our aim is to help them feel part of the excitement that hosting RWC 2015 will bring to this country and to have a real connection to the sport in the build-up to the Tournament.
"This new website will give schools access to a whole range of educational materials and ideas which can bring the game to life in imaginative ways. We are proud of the values that our sport promotes and we hope this website will help teachers to encourage them in all areas of school life."