New start for Vanuatu Rugby Union development programme following the handing over of the new Get Into Rugby(GIR) equipments, supported by the Australian Government through the PacificAus Sports program.

Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Her Excellency Sarah deZoeten said; “Sport has the power to transcend social, cultural, religious, language and gender barriers.

“The values of sport – team work, discipline and fair play bring people together. Australia is pleased to partner with Oceania Rugby and make this donation of Get Into Rugby equipment to the Vanuatu Rugby Football Union,” she said.

The partnership is providing much needed Get into Rugby equipment to seven Pacific countries; Vanuatu, Fiji, Nauru, PNG, Tonga, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

Oceania Rugby General Manager Bruce Cook said; “We are grateful to the Australian government and Rugby Australia for this generous contribution to Pacific rugby.

“Get into Rugby provides a safe and fun environment that benefits children’s physical and mental health, connection with peers and a trusted coach. With so much disruption in recent months, there is no more important time for children to be encouraged to play sport.”

Get Into Rugby is a proven program run across Pacific nations by each country’s rugby union with the support of Oceania Rugby.

In 2019, Get Into Rugby recorded its largest number of participants across the Oceania Region since its inception with over 100,000 boys and girls participating, and over 30,000 of them retained through festivals and competitions.

Increasingly, the game is being embraced by girls and women, with 2019 recording the highest number of female coaches, and girls now accounting for 30% of player numbers.

Rugby Australia General Manager of Community Rugby, James Selby, said; “Strong partnerships across countries and Governments in the Pacific is key to the development of our region.

“We know that programs such as Get Into Rugby are great at engaging young people in active lifestyles but that the holistic approach of the program, using the values of Rugby, is a strong contributor to developing good people, promoting respectful relationships, and connected communities.

“Rugby Australia is proud to again partner with the Australian Government, in particular the in-country Posts, as well as Oceania Rugby and each of the National Rugby Unions, for the further expansion and support of this program.”

GIR is World Rugby’s mass participation development program which introduces the skills, rules and strategies of rugby union in a safe, non-contact playing environment (tag rugby).

The program includes three progressive stages: Try, Play and Stay in Rugby, and a highlight is always the Get into Rugby Festivals that bring together girls’ and boys’ teams to play tag-rugby games in a fun, vibrant community event.

Get Into Rugby promotes the values of the Game – Respect, Integrity, Solidarity, Discipline and Passion.

The list of equipment includes Get into Rugby Kits (bags, balls, tag belts, cones, bibs, whistles and pump), Get Into Rugby Coach polo shirts, and festival equipment (marquee and banners).

The Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports program aims to strengthen the sporting links between Australia and the Pacific.

VRU president John Miller was grateful with the support from Australian High Commission and Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Willie Pakoa Satearoto.

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