Rugby schools from across the nation battle it out for the title...
The Halloween mid-term has just become a whole lot more interesting for rugby students, their fans and their families!
Calling all rugby fans and festival go-ers, this year’s Halloween break has just got a whole lot more interesting. School’s rugby teams from across the island will battle it out for the Rugby Rising title 2018, surrounded by fun a festivities fit for the whole family at Dublin’s Donnybrook Stadium.
Driving the festival is one of Ireland’s favourite faces of rugby, Tommy Bowe. Going back to grass-root development has been a dream of Tommy and his Ulster teammate Louis Ludik for some time. The two rugby stars have been fortunate to play rugby at a professional level and are grabbing this opportunity to not only profile what a day in the life of a pro is, but also to showcase to students what behind the scenes of professional rugby entails. Few school level rugby players go on to play under the flood lights of national and international stardom, but if the passion and love for the sport is there – the amount of opportunities for both “behind the scene” and front line professional involvement is endless.
What is it all about?
Taking place throughout the October mid-term break, Rugby Rising is a five day event for a selection of rugby schools throughout the four provinces. Three of these days are match days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), the other two days are industry educational days. The festival focuses on players’ and teams’ development through competitive matches interspersed with fun educational days. It is about so much more than just playing rugby – over the five days, both men and women's teams will be provided with a platform to further develop their knowledge of health and wellbeing while networking with friends and rival teams throughout the country. This is topped off with an opportunity to meet the nation’s leading faces in rugby (international coaches, international players and industry professionals).
"I’m really excited that Rugby Rising is finally coming to fruition. Over two years ago, Louis and I were reminiscing about our fondest memories of schools’ rugby which led to the All-Ireland Festival idea. Little did we know how many people’s efforts it takes to make an event like this happen! Having met schools, committees and professionals in and around the game who continue to help/support us along the way, our aim remains to make this festival a fun, competitive and memorable experience for everyone who takes part - on and off the pitch.
The Schools Cup is the holy grail for schoolboys and girls when it comes to rugby. We want the Rugby Rising Festival to become a permanent fixture in the school calendar that they look forward to in the same light - the opportunity to face teams/players they might otherwise never get the opportunity to play, whilst also spending time with each other on development days and potentially exploring other avenues to stay involved in the sport when they leave school.
In my opinion, the best part of rugby is that there is a position for all (be that shapes, sizes, sexes or skills) - we want to open this festival to the community (over the upcoming mid-term break) and we want the true values of rugby to be central to it - Teamwork, Respect and Enjoyment."
His business partner and Ulster rugby player, Louis Ludik, adds, “When I was a schoolboy, I often played in festivals like this. To this day it remains some of my fondest memories, I’ve made friends for life and ended up playing on the professional scene amongst and against players that shared these experiences as school boys. It was an instant bond and created a kinship that we could call back on with laughter and nostalgia.
Most professional rugby players would speak about a desire to investing back into the sport that has afforded us so much. That is why Tommy and I came up with the concept of Rugby Rising. We would like to give these players an experience that they will never forget, make friends for life and an opportunity to learn from the best professionals in the field of S&C, nutrition, sports management and statistics as well as current and past players and ultimately walk away as better people and players.”
The festival consists of both on pitch and off pitch experiences. From competition days in Energia Park in Donnybrook (Monday / Wednesday / Friday) to the experiential days in the Aviva Stadium – this week long festival is about rugby as a career in the full meaning of the word. Students will be brought on a day in the life of a professional player – including full strength and conditioning training to personalised and team level match performance review from STATSports, the world’s leading provider of GPS player tracking and analysis solutions. The whole concept behind this week long event is to give practical and hands on advice on the rugby industry as a whole. Key note speakers will include, leading sports agents, Rugby Players Ireland (mental health & sport and anti-bullying) as well as an international leading line up of the “behind the scenes team” of coaches, analysts, marketers and of course – the most anticipated – a panel and meet&greet with a line-up of current Irish rugby stars.
Speaking on their partnership with Rugby Rising, Sean O Connor, Co Founder of STATSports, comments, “We are delighted to be involved with the Rugby Rising team in promoting this exciting upcoming event. Each player’s every move throughout the week will be tracked by our world leading APEX technology and we look forward to continue developing the world class talent that we have on these shores. We see this event as an excellent opportunity for the best school players in Ireland to showcase their talent and we can’t wait to begin our long term deal with Rugby Rising.”