A record 1,215 school children from across west, central and southern Scotland are warming up for the clash of the year as SP Energy Networks and Glasgow Warriors announce the launch of the 2020 SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship.
As Glasgow Warriors’ official Community Partner, we were delighted to welcome kids, teachers and coaches to our Glasgow HQ to launch this year’s competition.
The rugby tournament will see 27 schools (up from 25 in 2019) go head to head across eight weeks at Scotstoun Stadium, home of Glasgow Warriors, and battle it out to be crowned champions.
This is the third year we have supported the Championship that aims to raise awareness and improve access to grassroots level rugby – whilst also promoting active and healthy lifestyles to young people. The Championship, and important community engagement it generates, also seeks to recognise sport as a valuable life tool in teaching children about team working, leadership and communication skills.
Each school will take part in qualifying rounds at Scotstoun, beginning on Wednesday 5 February, and they’ll have S1 and S2 boys’ teams competing alongside an under-15s girls’ team. A new record of 405 girls are taking part this year.
Supporting women and girls on the pitch is mirrored in our support of women in the workplace through activities like apprenticeships, women returners’ programmes and our #NotJustForBoys campaign in partnership with the Scotland Women Rugby team.
Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks said: “Since the Championship started we’ve seen the number of schools grow from just 16 up to 27 this year and both myself and everyone at SP Energy Networks are delighted to actively support and encourage the next generation of rugby stars.
“Our support of the Championship has many benefits – not least helping us to reach out and support the communities we live and work in, but it also gives us the opportunity to talk to many of the kids about a possible career in engineering (if they don’t make it as rugby stars!).
"This year we’ve shared valuable STEM resources with the kids and their teachers – helping bring to life the important skills and subject choices kids will need for a possible career in both sports and engineering.
“I’m also delighted that the Championship is helping to break down barriers for the sport – encouraging more and more girls to take up rugby and build on the recent success of the Scotland Women’s team. Not only is that good for the future of rugby… it’s good for us, and it’s given us the chance to talk to more young girls about possible careers in engineering.
“I want to say a massive good luck to all of the teams competing. We’re looking forward to seeing some tough competition during the games! Good luck."
Glasgow Warriors Managing Director, Nathan Bombrys said: "We're looking forward to welcoming the largest number of schools we’ve ever had - to give over 1,200 kids the opportunity to come and show off their skills at Scotstoun, which is something we're very proud to be able to do year in, year out.
“Rugby has provided so many great opportunities to our players and staff at the club - the sport has helped us to keep fit, taught us discipline and teamwork, opened doors to education and career opportunities, enabled us to travel and see new parts of the world and through it all we’ve made life-long friends.
“We feel very passionate about creating opportunities for young people to enjoy our sport, and hopefully, have positive experiences through rugby similar to our own.
“Without the support of SP Energy Networks, this competition simply wouldn’t happen, and we'd like to thank SP Energy Networks for their continued support of both the club and the Warriors Championship.
“Good luck to all the schools competing over the next few months."
At the launch of the Championship Glasgow Warriors players hosted a Q&A session with the pupils – with stars Alex Allan, Leone Nakarawa and Nick Grigg taking the hard-hitting questions.
Glasgow Warriors and Scotland star Alex Allan said: "The SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship is something the kids are really excited to be part of and I would have loved to have played in an event like this growing up.
“I still get a buzz playing at Scotstoun and it must be extra special for all these youngsters. I wish them all the best and I look forward to coming down to watch some matches."
Charlie Johnston, competing for Oban High School's girls said: "I want to play for Scotland when I'm older and playing in this event helps me become a better player. I scored quite a few tries last year and hopefully I can do the same again in 2020."
The final will be played before the Guinness PRO14 match between Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys on Friday 15 May.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Stuart Lewis on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Glasgow Warriors website.