Rugby kit specialist Canterbury has today (9 September) revealed plans to support seven of the brightest talents in the game through a partnership with SportsAid. The programme will see Canterbury, who kitted out The British & Irish Lions for their tour of South Africa, provide players with the vital financial support they need to become the best players they can be.
In addition, the deserving players will also receive regular bundles of kit to help them perform on the pitch, as well as having the opportunity to get tips and advice from Canterbury’s ambassador squad, including two-time Lions captain Sam Warburton. The partnership is the latest example of Canterbury’s desire to champion and support grassroots rugby.
The athletes are being supported by Canterbury because of their aspirations and talent - with the aim of helping these up-and-coming stars reach their full potential. The selected athletes include three wheelchair rugby stars, who are playing an integral role in helping to grow the game across the UK, and two young female players; reflecting the growth in women’s rugby, which now represents around 25% of all players.
SportsAid aims to help the next generation of British sporting stars at the start of their careers when their parents are their only means of support.
Many of the players who were nominated for SportsAid support spoke about the investment needed in order to access the best facilities or training centres, the need for support to enable them to travel around the country to play rugby, and the costs associated with buying kit. With these expenses now taken care of, the players can focus on their own games, safe in the knowledge they are being given every opportunity to be the best player possible.
As part of the partnership, Canterbury will continue to share the players’ inspirational stories on social media platforms, as well as hosting meet-ups to check-in on progress and see where they can continue to support their development through the SportsAid Buddy Scheme. The scheme will see volunteers from the Canterbury team offer guidance and advice to the players to help them get a sense of how the sporting world operates.
Jack Richardson, Vice President at Canterbury, said: “We’re always looking at ways we can support the wider game and rugby community and this partnership with SportsAid gives us the perfect opportunity to do so. We believe in creating a level playing field and helping these talented players, that may not have the same access and opportunities as others within the sport, is a great start.
“This year, our Made From Rugby campaign will help to share the amazing stories of these players, who we believe can really inspire the next generation. We want to give them all the support that we can and our brand ambassadors, who have been there and lived it, will be on-hand share their own experiences and advice.”
Among the most high-profile rugby alumni who had SportsAid backing is Anthony Watson, the Bath, England and Lions wing who has been capped more than 50 times for his country, while nine of the 13 players selected to represent Team GB in the women’s sevens at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were also former beneficiaries of the charity’s support.