With sport back underway in provincial areas of Solomon Islands, Solomon Island Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF) was delighted to receive yesterday a shipment of new Get into Rugby (GIR) equipment, supported by the Australian Government through the PacificAus Sports program.

The equipment includes Get into Rugby Kits (bags, balls, tag belts, cones, bibs, whistles and pump) as well as Get into Rugby coach polo shirts, and festival equipment including a marquee and banners.

In partnership with Oceania Rugby, Rugby Australia and SIRUF, PacificAus Sports is supporting opportunities for girls and boys to participate in sport and creating pathways for emerging Pacific athletes.

Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr Lachlan Strahan said Australia was proud to support the Get into Rugby program in Solomon Islands.

The Get into Rugby program is funded through Australia’s PacificAus Sports program and is delivered in partnership with Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby.

“The efforts of the Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation to deliver this excellent program here in Solomon Islands are to be commended. I’m especially happy that the program includes a strong focus on promoting participation in the provinces, not just in Honiara,” Dr Strahan said.

“This program is designed to promote respect, integrity, and discipline while encouraging people of all ages to try, play, and stay in Rugby. Importantly it is fantastic to see that 30 percent of all participants across the region are women and girls,” he said.

SIRUF President, George Temahua and his executives thanked the Australian Government and the Australian High Commissioner for the equipment handed over to the Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF).

Speaking at the ceremony, President George Temahua said, “We are grateful for the support that the Australian Government has provided especially during the difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The equipment is part of the sports assistance pledged by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during his visit to Solomon Islands in June 2019.

The Solomon Islands Rugby Federation continues to work towards building rugby in the provinces and mentoring young children to play with the correct ethics in all sports.

President of SIRUF, George Temahua identified that the equipment would greatly help the Get into Rugby Team deliver the program in Solomon Islands, including to the Provinces, with the team travelling to Makira in the coming week and Rennell Bellona before the end of the month.

The ceremony was attended by some of the children who are participants in the Get into Rugby program in Honiara.

In addition to Solomon Islands, the program is providing much needed equipment in Fiji, Nauru, PNG, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu.

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.”

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

Source: Press Release