RAVENHILL heroes Ruan Pienaar, Roger Wilson, and Robbie Diack have teamed up with independent retail group Centra to kick off this year’s Ulster Rugby Summer Camps with over 1,500 places available.
The five day camps, sponsored by Centra and its independent retailers, will run between June 30 and August 22 at a variety of venues. Qualified youth coaches and players from the Ulster team will be on hand to give youngsters tips on the game, talk to them about life as professional players and sign sought-after autographs.
Junior Camps, for boys and girls aged 6-12, will be played at over 20 locations, offering hundreds of children the opportunity to try rugby for the first time or develop their existing skills in a fun and safe environment.
Locally, the camp will take place at Ballynahinch RFC from Monday 7th July to Friday 11th July.
Based on the growing popularity of girls’ youth rugby and children with special needs camps, extra camps aimed specifically at these groups will be included in the Centra Summer Camp schedule. The girls’ camps, for 12-17 year olds, will take place at four venues across Northern Ireland, including Lurgan RFC, while there will now be two camps for children with special needs, running at Newforge Sports Complex in South Belfast, and for the first time this year at Coleraine RFC.
The ever popular Senior Camp, aimed at boys and girls (13-17 years old) with previous rugby experience and focusing on the technical, tactical, physical, mental and lifestyle aspects of rugby, will also take place again in July at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.
Barry Willis, Community Rugby Manager at Ulster Rugby, said: “It’s great to have Roger, Robbie and Ruan on board to help us launch our busiest ever schedule. All three of these players took up the sport as youngsters and our summer camps are a fantastic way to bring rugby to young people in the province.
The success and popularity of the senior Ulster team has been one of the main reasons for the continued growth in participation at summer camps. Another key factor is the significant support we receive from Centra, who are determined to make the Summer Camp schedule more successful year on year.
“The camps provide an excellent opportunity for those who are new to the game and those with some experience, to develop their skills in a fun environment and meet new friends,” he added.
Nikki McDowell, Centra Brand Manager, said: “This is the sixth year that Centra and its independent retail partners across Northern Ireland have supported Ulster Rugby Summer Camps, and we are very proud of that association. The camps offer young people the chance to learn new skills and of course meet Ulster Rugby players, who drop into every camp throughout the summer. The additional camps allow many more children to take part and enjoy a week of rugby during the summer holidays.”
The cost of the camps has remained the same as last year; £50 for a place on the Junior Camp, £30 for the Girls and Special Needs Camps and £80 for the Senior Camps. There are discounts available for booking a place at a second venue and the prices include a T-shirt, a boot bag, a rugby ball and a voucher to claim a free ticket to an Ulster game at Ravenhill.
Application forms are being distributed to schools and rugby clubs across Ulster and are also available from local Centra stores. Parents can book and pay for camps online. Full details of this year’s Summer Camps and how to book can be found on www.ulsterrugby.com/domestic.