Special workshops were hosted at stadium:mk today (Thursday) in a bid to promote rugby ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
The initiative was organised by the RFU which unveiled plans to develop more young volunteers in rugby clubs through its Young Rugby Ambassadors programme.
Rugby clubs across the country are being asked to nominate 16 to 20 year olds to become Young Rugby Ambassadors (YRAs), whose role will be to inspire other young people in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup 2015.
These young ambassadors will be working in their clubs to pass on the latest news on RWC 2015, raise awareness of rugby in their local area and help to get youngsters from their community playing rugby again.
Thursday marked two years to go to the final of Rugby World Cup 2015, and the YRA programme kicked off with regional briefing days held in the ten English host cities chosen to stage matches during RWC 2015.
Young rugby club volunteers and mentors took part in workshops discussing ideas for community projects to inspire people about rugby, explored different leadership and ambassadorial styles and shared information about RWC2015.
RFU rugby development director, Steve Grainger, said: “We are committed to support the development of young people as volunteers and future leaders in our clubs at all levels. This programme provides an opportunity for them to take their first leadership roles in clubs, using the inspiration of Rugby World Cup 2015 to engage current club members and recruit new ones. “
Will Greenwood, RWC 2003 winner and England Rugby 2015 ambassador said: “I want Rugby World Cup 2015 to act as a catalyst to get more people finding out what their local rugby clubs can offer in terms of a community and a support base. A rugby club is a great place to be around all through the week. It can be a real anchor; not just in terms of health and fitness but also a social life and developing friendships. There is no better way to do this than to work with the young players in the clubs who are hugely passionate about the game. Two years out from the tournament, the Young Rugby Ambassador programme sets the foundations to get clubs fully involved in Rugby World Cup 2015 and it is so exciting to see such enthusiasm across the country. “
There will be up to four Young Rugby Ambassadors from each rugby club, along with adult mentors who will work with them to provide advice and guidance, ensuring that they receive the support they need. The next group of young volunteers will be recruited by May next year.