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Bristol Ladies Attend Eagle Project To Mark Women's Sport Week

The chance to be coached by Bristol Rugby Ladies stars is something few schoolchildren are lucky to experience, and programme manager Geraint Lewis believes it’s an opportunity which will undoubtedly spur on his Eagle Project students to increase their involvement in the game.

Aimed specifically at girls in Years 8, 9 and 10, the Eagle Project is a 12-week programme designed to increase participation at a grassroots level.

One of the sessions also coincided with Women’s Sport Week – now in its second year – an opportunity for everybody involved with working in sport to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK.

And for Sir Bernard Lovell’s Academy came the chance to train with Bristol Ladies’ Kathyrn Buggy and Sasha Acheson, with the latter also an England international.

With Bristol Rugby, Wales and British & Irish Lions star Ian Evans also in attendance alongside teammate Martin Roberts, Geraint Lewis believes it’s an experience the girls can take huge inspiration from.

“A lot of the girls have never played rugby, so we start off by making it as fun as possible and it’s amazing how many of them want to keep that going and to join other clubs because of that,” he said.

“Four years ago, there wasn’t the opportunity for girls to become professional rugby players. They could play for England, but would have to do that alongside another job alongside that.

“But now everything is transformed, and for the girls to have Bristol Ladies there watching gives them something massive to aspire to.

“For it to all be part of Women’s Sport Week as well is fantastic.”

There was no shortage of talent on display in Bristol – despite this being just week four of the current Eagle Project programme, formed by the Bristol Rugby Community Foundation.

But it is an enterprise which has continued to impress, picking up the PLAY Award at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Awards in 2015 and 2016.

And for Bristol Rugby chief executive Stephen Gorvett, it’s these types of projects within the Aviva Premiership Rugby setup that can be a perfect springboard for girls’ continued enjoyment of the sport.

“It’s great to be a part of Women’s Sport Week, and part of our role is to be able to get girls to take part in sport,” he said.

“It’s so important to get young people involved in the game and the Eagle Project gives them a huge chance, a lot of these girls will be able to go on to play club rugby locally which enables them to keep playing and taking part.

“Rugby is such a good way to get involved, you learn all the core values of respect and involvement, and it’s a really fantastic way to build on life skills as much as anything. Having the professionals there would have given them some huge inspiration too.”

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