The International Rugby Board has presented Virreyes Rugby Club in Argentina with the prestigious Spirit of Rugby Award 2010 in association with Emirates Airline.
Virreyes Rugby Club was founded in 2002 in Buenos Aires to provide a key partnership between education and sport within a community blighted by social deprivation.
Founded by Marcos Julianes, the Club opened its doors to provide care, food and a focus for youngsters which is linked to attendance and dedication at school. The Club was built on the values of good discipline and developing positive life skills, allied to the values of Rugby.
The Spirit of Rugby Award recognises the incredible feats that can be achieved through Rugby both on and off the field, and recognises those who through selfless action influence the lives of others, make significant contribution to their communities and demonstrate the force for good that sport can be in all areas of the world.
Virreyes Rugby Club now trains more than 500 players aged 6 to 19 and has touched the lives of many local families. It takes around 100 volunteers, including coaches, managers, doctors, Strength and Conditioning experts to keep the Club alive.
"Virreyes is a wonderful example of how a Rugby Club can be the heartbeat of its community and ensure young children fulfil their hopes and aspirations through the Game," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The club is built on the principles of education, promoting good health and social wellbeing and encourages team work, unity, respect and personal development. It is a truly worthy recipient of this wonderful Award."
Membership of the Club has always been dependent on dedication at school. Now, the educational side has developed with university places available for the older players. Mentors are provided to assist students with their studies and scholarships allow them to avoid working during study days.
In addition, sponsorship has enabled club-based programmes such as Open the Pitch, which provides IT, Maths and Languages for 40 children aged 10 to 13.
"Virreyes is the launching point for kids to go out and take on the world. The symbolism of the game on the pitch must be the same as life off the pitch. There are no stars, a Rugby team must work together and be there for each other," said Marcos Julianes.
The Club now provides four rugby pitches including one for minis, educational rooms, Gym, changing rooms and administrative offices and sits proudly at the heart of its community.
Previous Winners of the Spirit of Rugby Award:
2009 - L’Aquila Rugby Club
2008 - Roelien Muller and Patrick Cotter
2007 - Nicolas Pueta
2006 - Polly Miller
2005 - Jean Pierre Rives
2004 - Jarrod Cunningham
2003 - Michael and Linda Collinson
2002 - Old Christians Rugby Club
2001 - Tim Grandadge