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Disability Six Nations event the biggest yet

23/03/2019

Dragons training base in Ystrad Mynach hosted the Sport Caerphilly/Trinity Fields Disability Six Nations at CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence last week. 

The event aims to include everyone from a mixed range of disabilities and allows them to physically experience their love for rugby. 

Over 320 pupils from 22 schools took part in its 14th year and it has grown greatly since beginning with six schools.
Former Wales international and British and Irish Lion Ryan Jones has been attending the event from its formation and was there again this year.

“I was here when it started 14 years ago and there were only about 15 kids,” said Ryan.

“It’s been such a big part of my career and I remember coming on the back of playing in a Six Nations, but seeing it go from strength to strength and seeing the numbers grow - it’s incredible.

“For me, this is the magic of sport and rugby because there’s kids of all abilities just enjoying rugby in its purest form. 
“They’re just running around with a rugby ball and experiencing the game and enjoying every second of it – it’s just amazing to see.

“It’s down to a lot of hard work and some amazing individuals, the likes of Paul Taylor, who have created it from nothing, deserve all the credit in the world because they’ve done an amazing job.

“The infrastructure the Welsh Rugby Union has in place in local communities: the work of hub officers, the work of our Disability Rugby Coordinator Darren Carew, our regional entities and their community engagements – it’s all made rugby accessible for more people and it’s fantastic to see that culminating today.

“This is my passion and I fiercely love all aspects of rugby, but this is a day that I look forward to and it’s something that’s in the diary never to be tinkered with by the staff and I do whatever I can to be here because it’s such a special day.”

Wales’ Grand Slam and Six Nations trophies were in attendance, just five days after the success and the 38-year-old concluded: “For me, you’ve got 75,000 people in the Principality Stadium on Saturday afternoon and then you come to this on a Thursday and the trophies are sitting there. 

“That is the breadth and reach that rugby has, particularly in Wales and it’s magic to see that in the space of five days.” 

The Welsh Rugby Union’s Disability Rugby Coordinator Darren Carew, who is a military veteran, has been involved for the past three years. 

“It’s about inclusion and this event has just grown every single year of its 14 years and one of the cool aspects about it is that it’s great experience for the children,” added Darren. 

“Now, we’ve got 320 children with a mixed range of disabilities, coming from all over the area to take part in rugby activities, but also it’s a good experience for the coaches and volunteers to come and be able to build their experience in this space.

“Looking at that, I ended up where I’m at now purely from coming along to one of these events, just after I’d passed my Level 1 course and I came down and I was hooked and now, I’m the Disability Rugby Coordinator for the Welsh Rugby Union.” 

Paul Taylor, who is the Disability Sport Wales Development Officer for Caerphilly, played a major role in starting the Disability Six Nations because he wanted to recreate the excitement of the Six Nations for children with a mixed range of disabilities. 

“It’s built up from having six schools involved to what it is now, having around 320 children coming,” began Paul.
“They do all sorts of different skills in the morning, like passing, kicking and tackling drills and then in the afternoon, they recreate the excitement of the Six Nations.

“The schools and children really enjoy it and it’s great for their social skills as well and we want to get every child with a rugby ball in their hands, but we also want to be getting every child active as well, whether they’ve got a disability or not.”

He concluded: “We’ve got the Dragons and the Welsh Rugby Union onboard, so we can’t ask for anything better because those organisations are always going to help promote it and make it bigger.” 

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