A partner organisation of Scottish Rugby’s has won global recognition for its drive to open-up the game of rugby to everyone.
Trust Rugby International is the catalyst for unified rugby, a brand of the sport which enables people with physical and mental challenges to play alongside mainstream rugby players.
This month, World Rugby, the game’s worldwide governing body, named Trust Rugby International as one of five organisations to have been chosen under its Spirit of Rugby programme.
Trust Rugby International will now receive support including profile-raising opportunities and financial assistance to maximise the impact of its work in a sustainable fashion and encourage others to develop similar initiatives.
Trust Rugby International has been a partner of Scottish Rugby since 2015 and receives financial assistance from the game’s governing body in Scotland.
World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont, said: “By channelling rugby’s character-building values such as passion, respect and solidarity, (Trust Rugby International) are delivering critical and excellent work in often challenging circumstances.
I congratulate and thank them for the role they have played to improve society through rugby.”
Trust Rugby International’s roots were established in Ayrshire in 2012, when they set up the first Clan team at Kilmarnock RFC. A second Clan team was established at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh – birthplace of the international game – in 2014 and a third Clan is being introduced now in partnership with Allan Glen’s in Glasgow.
Over the last few years, The Clan, has travelled to Ireland, Bradford and Valencia to compete in fixtures and international tournaments and is currently fund-raising with the aim of competing in an international unified rugby tournament in Bilbao this August.
Jamie Armstrong, founder of Trust Rugby International, said: “This is valuable recognition from World Rugby of all the different organisations already developing rugby for all abilities and a fantastic opportunity to further develop unified rugby.”
His chairman, Ivor Frater, added: “We believe that the work we do off the field is as important as what happens on the field.
We use rugby to challenge personal and societal perceptions, build people both physically and mentally to break down barriers, and enable them to live their lives to the full.”
One player from The Clan, Gavin Buonaccorsi who has been involved from the outset, explains the difference his involvement in unified rugby has made: “It’s made a dramatic difference,” he said. “There’s no sport like rugby that is so inclusive. I’ve become fitter, I’ve got my son, who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, involved and it’s helped my relationship with him. I’m proud and honoured to be part of The Clan and Trust Rugby International.”
The new partnership with World Rugby will see Trust Rugby International continue to take a leading role in the understanding and growth of unified rugby throughout Scotland and the rest of the world.
The four other organisations to be recognised under World Rugby’s Spirit of Rugby programme are Khelo Rugby; Rio Rugby FC; SOS Kit Aid; and Terres en Melees.