Rugby League leads the way for competitive school sport
The 2011-2012 Carnegie Champion Schools tournament culminates with the national finals in two weeks’ time and official figures show that a record 30,713 players and 1819 teams were involved in this year’s competition.
Amid all the current debate over competitive school sport the RFL’s flagship competition remains the largest Rugby League tournament in the world and continues to expand year on year introducing more and more students to competitive sport.
RFL Director of Participation David Gent said: “The Carnegie Champion Schools tournament is a shining example of a successful and massively competitive schools sport programme and we’re proud of its continued progression.
“We’re delighted that the number of teams and students competing in schools Rugby League continues to increase every year and you only need to see the expressions on the faces of the winning teams to know how much winning means to the players.
“There are some great statistics this year as the competition has seen expansion across England and Wales. Over 50 per cent of all Yorkshire schools are now playing in the competition and for the first time the South West region have entered a team in all year groups from Year 7 to Year 11.
“We’ve had feedback from some schools that have competed in the Carnegie Champion Schools competition that they have seen academic and behavioural improvements amongst students involved in schools Rugby League which is obviously fantastic news.
“I would like to thank all RFL staff and volunteers involved in the Carnegie Champion Schools tournament and all schools and teachers who support this tournament, their continued commitment over the years is something we are very thankful for.”
The Carnegie Champion Schools tournament culminates in the national finals at Odsal Stadium in Bradford on Thursday August 23.
The Year 7 boy’s final and pitch parade for all finalists will take place at the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on August 25 but the other finals have been moved to Odsal from London this year due to the Olympics and the unavailability of sports facilities.
History will also be made as Surrey school Howard of Effingham are the first team from the South to reach the Year 7 national final of the Carnegie Champion Schools competition.
The sport is proving popular in schools all across the country when it is introduced by Rugby League development staff.
Chris Baxter, Community Rugby League coach for London Broncos explains: “Because we've developed a good name and we deliver, schools have really bought into it.
“In a lot of our schools Rugby League is now their key sport.
“I can go in there at Year 7, have four sessions with them and they could be playing games straightway. A lot of schools like it, especially girls, because it’s so easy to pick up and it’s quick and free flowing.”
For more information on the Carnegie Champion Schools competition including details on how to enter visit: www.carnegiechampionschools.co.uk
Carnegie Champion Schools national finals:
Thursday 23 August, Odsal Stadium, first kick off 11.00am
Year 7 Girls Castleford Academy v St Peters (Manchester)
Year 8 Girls Settle Middle (North Yorkshire) v St Peters (Manchester)
Year 8 Boys South Leeds Academy (Leeds) v St Wilfred’s (Wakefield)
Year 9 Girls Castleford Academy v Settle College (North Yorkshire)
Year 9 Boys Temple Moor (Leeds) v St Peter and Paul (Halton)
Year 10 Girls Castleford Academy v Hollingworth (Rochdale)
Year 10 Boys Outwood Grange (Wakefield) v Ystalyfera (Wales)
Saturday 25 August, Wembley Stadium
Year 7 Boys Castleford Academy v Howard and Effingham (London)