Rugbytots learn a wide range of skills
BUDDING rugby stars of the future could be in the making with new sports sessions called Rugbytots.
The weekly play programme is aimed at boys and girls aged between two and seven, and it uses the multiple skills found in rugby to enhance their social and physical skills.
The classes, which are separated into three age groups, include passing, kicking and catching. Children are encouraged to use both hands and feet, and work on skills such as balance, coordination, discipline and finding their own space.
The franchise arrived in Exeter and East Devon three months ago, and is run by qualified coach Gareth Horrocks, from Sidmouth.
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He said: "I have obviously been a fan of rugby, especially of Exeter Chiefs. It was only recently when I had been looking for something rugby related for my eldest son Jude, who is four, to attend that I realised there wasn't anything. I kept saying to myself, 'someone should do something like Rugbytots in Devon, and then decided to buy the franchise.
"Rugbytots is fantastic for girls and boys through all the ages to help build self confidence, learn basic rugby skills, and improve all-round physical skills.
"I am firm believer in encouraging children to be active and fit and for me, personally, it is so much fun in the class and very rewarding to see some of the children progressing physically and socially.
"I would say without a doubt I have the best job in the world, running around with children playing rugby.
"The classes are not repeated so there is genuine progression in skills, and there are structured lesson plans which maintain the fun-first approach to rugby."
Classes currently run in Exeter, Exmouth and Honiton, with plans to introduce sessions in Dawlish, Cullompton and Sidmouth in the near future.
Sarah Love, whose three-year-old son Oli attends one of the Honiton classes, said: "What Oli gets from Rugbytots is confidence, team playing, honesty, fun taking direction from Gareth, listening skills, and making new friends.
"Oli's favourite game is bomb the base, a game which helps children with spacial awareness, moving off both feet, and throwing and kicking."
Another young rugby fan who enjoys the classes is four-year-old Seamus Kent. His dad Joseph said: "Our son really loves Rugbytots. It seems that the mix of running, ball skills games and teamwork with his new Rugbytots friends suit him down to the ground.
"He would go to Rugbytots everyday if he could! His confidence and co-ordination have grown immeasurably, and he always races to the Rugbytots meet with a beaming smile."
Classes are bookable in six-week terms and a free taster session is offered before signing up. The cost is £6.50 a session for two to three-and-a-half year olds, and £7 for five to seven year olds.
Exeter sessions are held every Saturday at Magdalen Court School in Victoria Park Road, at 9.30am for ages two to three-and-a-half, 10.15am for ages three-and-a-half to five, and 11.15am for ages five to seven.
Honiton sessions are held every Sunday at Honiton Community College in School Lane, at 9.15am for ages two to three-and-a-half, and 10am and 11am for ages three-and-a-half to five.
Exmouth sessions are held every Sunday at Cranford Sports Centre in Salterton Road, at 2pm for ages two to three-and-a-half, and 2.45pm for ages three-and-a-half to five.
For more details call 0845 313 3248/ 07780453504 or visit www.rugbytots.co.uk.