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Aldi to back grassroots initiative through IRFU partnership

The Irish Rugby Football Union, the governing body of rugby union in the country, has entered into a partnership with supermarket chain Aldi.

As part of the four-year deal, which will run until 2020, Aldi will support Play Rugby, the IRFU’s grassroots initiative.

Aldi will take on naming rights to the initiative, which aims to increase participation in rugby among children and promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

Play Rugby provides teachers, coaches and parents with equipment, tools and training courses and also encourages participation in a non-contact form of rugby for children between the ages of six and 14.

To raise awareness of Play Rugby, Aldi will feature recipes in its weekly Specialbuys magazine, which is available in-store.

With Aldi’s support, the IRFU hopes the initiative, which was launched in 2009, will have over 100,000 participants by 2018. Almost 65,000 children across Ireland took part in the programme last year.

This season the programme will include rugby blitzes held around the country with a national festival staged at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in early 2017.

“Aldi's support will enable the initiative to train and support more teachers around the country which in turn will result in more young people getting the opportunity to experience the game of rugby,” IRFU president Stephen Hilditch said. “Participation in team sports has a number of social and health benefits as well as teaching young people essential life skills.”