Teams keen to leave a lasting legacy
By Louis Kisia
Only a day after the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2009 kicked off in Nairobi, teams were back on the pitch, albeit this time with a different agenda altogether.
Players from four of the eight participating countries embarked on a mission of giving back to the community through rugby clinics at various locations in the Kenyan capital.
"It's about leaving a legacy to the rugby fraternity in the country after teams have left at the end of this tournament," explained Fred Ollows, who is in charge of Rugby Development in Kenya.
"We have already introduced rugby to a dozen of primary schools and believe that when these clinics are carried out, our youngsters will definitely benefit in one way or another."
The first teams to interact with the local children were Namibia, Papua New Guinea, USA and Chile.
At the two match day venues, the RFUEA Ground and Impala, players from Namibia and Papua New Guinea showed basic rugby techniques and skills to a huge number of children.
The delighted youngsters did not leave empty handed after receiving goodies from the visitors in the form of rugby balls, t-shirts - not to mention the feeling of having trained with the next generation of international players.
Meanwhile at the KCB Ruaraka grounds, the teams from USA and Chile did their bit for the legacy programme, with the South Americans coming across some familiar faces in a group of children they had met in a supermarket a few days before and taught a song in Spanish.
"It was an incredible experience, one that will certainly be a highlight of our visit here," admitted Chile coach Rodrigo Boyé.
"Much to our surprise, when we met the children we were to train with, it was the same gang, and they were singing that song."
The four other participating nations - hosts Kenya, Korea, Cayman Islands and Romania - are expected to carry along the mantle and honour the legacy programme before the captain's runs on Friday ahead of match day two on Saturday.
Legacy programmes are an integral part of all IRB Age Grade tournaments, with the Host Unions required to provide legacy opportunities. The eight participating teams in this IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy will undertake two such activities before they head home.