Dallaglio RugbyWorks is an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on rugby, through which we aim to get teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.

Last week, the Dallaglio RugbyWorks team hosted a series of winter tournaments across the country. These events are always a fantastic opportunity for our young people to play sport on a competitive level.

We kick-started the week with two tournaments on the Monday; one up in the East Midlands and the other in Cardiff, where for the first time the Bristol and Wales regions joined forces for the day. This widened the pool of competition but the reigning national tournament winners, Porth County Community School, could not be beaten and claimed the top prize of the day.

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Meanwhile, at the East Midlands tournament, the competition was fierce but the young people still embraced the opportunity to socialise between schools and mingle with their peers, with some heart-warming displays of sportsmanship in which students from Winstanley Community College offered to play for a school that was low on players. At the end of the day they were rewarded for their generosity, as it was Winstanley Community College that took the victory at the first ever tournament in the region.

Tuesday saw the Dallaglio RugbyWorks team travel north to Manchester for the North West tournament. Although our young people are very new to the sport of rugby, they were keen to get stuck in and by the end of the day they had progressed to play some touch rugby with confidence. We saw some great efforts throughout the day, particularly from Trafford High School Medical Centre.

On Wednesday, we hosted the biggest tournament of the week in London with 13 schools braving the cold to fight it out for the title. Halfords Autocentres and Kingston University were there to support the event, adding greatly to the day with various activities for the young people to challenge themselves.

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After several rounds of competition, it was an extremely close final between SILS and Newhaven. SILS took an early lead, but due to a missed conversion Newhaven were able to capitalise and quickly scored a try with successful conversion. The teams battled it out, but in the end SILS’ impressive teamwork payed off when scoring their final converted try that finished the game and saw them crowned London tournament winners!

We finished the week off with a trip to Newcastle where unfortunately the tournament was snowed off. However, our London coach Mike ran a fantastic session for the young people at Moorbridge Pupil Referral Unit, introducing them to some exciting new games and activities.

It was fantastic to see some 200 of our young people, an unprecedented number, come together and play rugby. Their enthusiasm and engagement with theses tournaments is testament to the relationships our coaches have with them. Bring on the National tournament!

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