RugbyWA partnered with HSBC and World Rugby on Thursday for a Rugby skills and drills clinic for local junior players in celebration of the HSBC SVNS Perth event, which kicked off at HBF Park on January 26, 2024.
Thursday, January 25, saw over 100 junior players attend the Scarborough Amphitheatre to participate in the clinics run by RugbyWA’s development team. On the beach, young players from ages 4 to 17 were involved in mixed sessions of buddy-up touch, tricky try lines and tri-tag.
RugbyWA’s General Manager of Rugby, Dane Lazarus, reflected the importance of running clinics such as this community event, to breed interest and encourage commitment to the game.
“Having so many young boys and girls running around is very exciting.
“Providing such amazing opportunities for these future stars of the game is why our development staff continue to do what they do.
“Rugby in WA continues to grow, and having such a huge event in the state is an incredible opportunity for more people to fall in love with the game.
“We will continue to provide opportunities for young boys and girls to become lifelong players, and just as importantly, lifelong fans of the game.”
In addition to a crowd of parents and beachgoers, World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin, Acting Tourism Minister John Carey, and RugbyWA’s President John Welborn, came to support the juniors, showing their support for rugby in Western Australia.
“This is a huge decade of sport for Australia,” Gilpin stated. “This is a festival with rugby at the heart of it.”
Minister Carey stated the importance of the HSBC SVNS for the state. “This is going to be a blockbuster event.
“This is going to be an incredible boost for Perth and our city.
“It is cementing Perth’s reputation as a sports capital.”
Welborn spoke to the importance of community events, such as the clinic ran by RugbyWA.
“It is a great way to activate all of our rugby clubs.
“The strength of rugby in WA has always been in the community, in the clubs.”
Western Force’s Michaela Leonard, Emilya Byrne and Sara Cline also made an appearance at the morning session, with Angus Wagner, Bayley Kuenzle, Zoe Elliot and Nami Dickson joining for the afternoon session. They were joined by HSBC ambassadors, Sean Maloney and Alicia Quirk, and Australian Rugby 7s players, Madison Ashby & Sharni Smale.
The representatives all got involved in the fun, throwing around the ball, engaging in drills and playing tri-tag with the young rugby players.
Leonard, who also captains the Wallaroos, came down as an ambassador for the HSBC SVNS.
“It’s been a great morning down at Scarborough beach, watching kids getting out, having a go, getting around rugby and learning some of the rules.
“It’s incredible having the HSBC SVNS in Perth and building some awareness around rugby and hopefully growing the game in our state.”
Wanneroo mum, Crystal Sio, brought her children down to participate in the morning clinic. As a rugby fan herself, she appreciated the opportunity for her kids, including Lenix, who’s going into his second season and her daughter, beginning her first, to grow their skills and have something to aspire to.
“When they come from grassroots, and they can see that they can be part of something like this? It’s amazing.
“I really want to see grassroots and all abilities grow. And the kids, if they can see it happen right here, that pros come and play here, that’s what you aspire to.
“I just said to my daughter, I said see! These women started like you, and this is where you could be!”
The event provided an opportunity to highlight rugby within Western Australia, not just to future talent but to the wider community, with passersby joining in games of pass-the-ball, engaging with local players, and watching the juniors learn skills.
HSBC SVNS Perth ran from January 26 – January 28, 2024, with both the Australian men and women’s teams placing second. The tournament will return to Perth in 2025.
RugbyWA will be running clinics throughout 2024, including school visits to holiday skills courses.