With the new season upon us, Leinster Rugby’s Club Community Rugby Officers (CCRO) are again ready to support clubs and schools around the province.

Under new circumstances, our CCROs will continue to encourage boys and girls of all ages to take to the rugby pitch.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the CCRO induction day has been conducted via the five regions within the province.

Recently, we visited Co Carlow FC where the North Midlands and South East CCROs were able to get together and receive guidance from Coach Player Development Officers (CPDO) for the year ahead.

“With their learning here today with (CPDOs) John Bagnall and Ben Armstrong, our CCROs are learning small-sided games to make them better to be able to coach in the school environment,” explains Corey Carty, South East Community Rugby Officer.

“The Community Rugby Department which would be the CCROs and the CROs and the CPDOs, will all help the club engage around their COVID compliance training. Each club will need to have a COVID safety officer, a COVID compliance officer, and then each team will need to have a COVID officer as well aligned to that team.

“Part of our role as well was to make those COVID officers and COVID compliance officers ready for the return of rugby come September.”

Daisy Earle, the new rugby officer for Gorey RFC and a member of the Leinster Women’s squad, is an example of how the programme can be successful, herself being encouraged to take up the game by a CCRO in the past.

“I’ll be going around to the schools in the Gorey catchment area, primary schools and secondary schools, trying to bring in young kids that want to be out playing sport, and hopefully get them to join rugby and stay playing,” says Daisy.

“That’s how I started, a CCRO came into my school, Ballygarrett national school, and dragged me in and said I’d be better at rugby than my brothers and here I am.

“I’m really excited to be on the other end of things. I’ve only really been on the player side of it so it’ll be really fun now. It’s great to see the hard work that goes in behind everything.”

For the more experienced Mick Bolger (Enniscorthy RFC), now in his sixth year as a CCRO, this year will see new challenges to overcome.

“We’ve worked really hard with Leinster Rugby and with the clubs over the summer,” he says. “We’ve worked with the COVID compliance officer to look at the risk assessment with the club, with their safety statement within the club, and, as a CCRO, we’re lucky enough to work with Sport Ireland and with Leinster.

“What we do is, work with the clubs and the schools first of all, to make sure they’ve done their risk assessments and their safety, and then bring it alongside what we’ve been doing with Leinster to make sure they adhere to their safety plan.”

To contact your Community Rugby Officer, click here.