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The Rugby Football League has launched an exciting new project to encourage more primary school aged girls to take up the sport.

RugBees is open to girls aged 7-11 and will be delivered on a weekly basis by club foundations to help them develop their confidence in areas such as catching, passing and kicking – whilst having plenty of fun too. It’s the first Rugby League programme to be developed specifically for primary school aged girls and the RFL has chosen the popular RLWC2021 mascot RugBee to bring the project to life.

Each session will be an hour long, beginning with an introduction to the game’s technical skills and finishing with a non-contact form of the game such as Tag or Touch. Parents and guardians will be encouraged to cheer children on throughout.

The groundbreaking project was unveiled at Headingley yesterday (Tuesday 28 March) by St Helens and England star Jodie Cunningham, who is also the RFL’s National Women’s and Girl’s Development Manager.

Jodie explains:  “I am so pleased that we were able to announce the launch of RugBees at the Women’s Super League season launch – it’s a full circle moment for the game. There is so much evidence to support that playing sport in a mixed gender setting isn’t right for all young girls and can be a barrier to participation which is why we are introducing RugBees to help tackle this.” 

The charity ‘Women in Sport’ recently revealed the findings of research into why girls as young as five years old don’t feel they belong in sport. The report – Sport, stereotypes and stolen dreams: Why girls still feel they don’t belong in sport – found that over half of parents (57%) said their daughter had felt excluded from sport, with a quarter (26%) confirming their daughter had been told ‘it wasn’t for girls’.

Jodie continues: “When I read the report I was really saddened to find out how excluded young girls feel from physical activity – and it proves why RugBees is such an important project. The sessions will give girls a fun and enjoyable environment to play Rugby League and build their confidence up to a place where hopefully they will then want to join a team and play competitively. 

“The Rugby League World Cup and the HeRLegacy series had a fantastic impact on the girl’s game, and we have to keep that momentum going.”

RugBees will officially kick off in April with club foundations asking a nominal fee per session. A full list of foundations delivering the project can be found on the RFL website but Featherstone are delighted to be one of them. 

England Women’s World Cup campaign and the HeRLegacy series has helped attract hundreds of players to Rugby League taster sessions and the introduction of RugBees means there is now a girl’s only offer for 7-11-year-olds for the very first time.

Head to the RugBees page now!

Details about the programme running at Featherstone Rovers will be revealed soon! 

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