The number of young women playing organised rugby in North Wales has doubled in just a year, following a successful sponsorship of RGC and the Wales U20 rugby squad by SP Energy Networks.
Since SP Energy Networks became an official sponsor of RGC in November 2016, there has been investment in encouraging girls and women into rugby at all levels. The three women’s regional clusters (the Ravens, Rebels and Pirates) are going from strength to strength with more girls playing for each team, and there are now twelve new rugby centres across rugby clubs in North Wales where women can participate in rugby.
Newly formed RGC Senior Women’s and Under 18’s Women’s teams are being launched with the first home match on Sunday 26th November. SP Energy Networks and North Wales Rugby are proud of these achievements during the first year of the three year partnership.
The North Wales region has doubled the number of girls (400 up from 200) taking part in organised rugby in North Wales as young women now have access to training at twelve rugby centres. Over the summer the girls aged 9 to 15 attended multiple SP Energy Networks sponsored girls rugby festivals in Dolgellau, Bala, Welshpool, Llanidloes, Wrexham, Ruthin, Denbigh, Llangefni, Nant Conwy, Caernarfon, Mold and Abergele.
The sponsorship has supported the RGC senior men’s team in their first ever season in the Principality Premiership in which they finished a very credible 4th and then went on to be crowned WRU National Cup Champions. The Wales U20 squad also enjoyed a successful season and achieved a respectable third place finish in the Six Nations as they picked up wins against Ireland, Scotland and Italy while wearing the famous red jersey featuring the SP Energy Networks logo.
SP Energy Networks, which owns and manages the network of underground cables and power lines for North Wales, has also implemented a community education programme across North Wales schools on power safety. A highlight of the programme was a safety video featuring top players Afon Bagshaw, Jacob Botica and Evan Yardley from RGC.
SP Energy Networks and Welsh Rugby Union hosted activities at the Anglesey Show where members of the public young and old could meet RGC players and take part in rugby skills training and touch rugby competitions with WRU staff and RGC players.
Alongside squad sponsorships, SP Energy Networks sponsors home fixtures at Stadiwm Zip World (formerly Parc Eirias). It has created a new interactive ‘fan zone’ to engage pre-match with fans by giving them the chance to put their rugby skills to the test, while learning more about power safety and what to do in a power cut.
Ahead of home matches, the WRU North Wales Participation Team and SP Energy Networks invite local rugby clubs’ junior teams to take part in pre-match engagement activity sessions which are run and managed by the North Wales Development Team and supported by Community Coaches, RGC squad members and RGC Academy players. These sessions are desiged to engage with North Wales clubs and attract between 90-140 local children at each home match and give a great opportunity to develop rugby skills at grass roots across North Wales.
Sion Jones, General Manager for the North Wales Development Region and RGC, said: “The incredible support provided by SP Engery Networks has enabled North Wales to have a very positive and successful 2016/17 season both on and off the field. We share similar values and aspirations, and together we are engaging with more people, more often and with more enjoyment and success.
“SP Energy Networks is committed to the region and the development of rugby in North Wales, working in partnership we’re confident that we can help make North Wales a very successful region with a healthy and vibrant brand of rugby that continues to engage and attract more and more people to get involved with the game of rugby.”
Stephen Stewart, Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting communities in North Wales. Last year we signed a major three-year sponsorship deal with WRU and RGC to deliver expansion of grassroots sport, more opportunities for female players and participation in rugby across the area.
“Being able to speak directly to rugby fans has given us the chance to share life-saving messages about power safety, while showing our support for the national game. We’re proud of the success achieved in the first year of our sponsorship and look forward to delivering even more in our second.”
SP Energy Networks is committed to supporting communities in North Wales through an extensive programme of local sponsorships and community engagement programmes. This includes sponsorship of the Anglesey Agricultural Show, support services for vulnerable customers in North Wales, engagement with local stakeholders, and a school power-safety initiative called PowerWise.
Over the next eight years, SP Energy Networks will invest £800 million to maintain and improve the power supply network in North Wales. SP Energy Networks manages approximately 9,605km of underground cables and 1,245km of overhead power lines that connect over 375,000 homes and local businesses. The company employs more than 380 staff and 700 contractors in North and Mid Wales, and anticipates an intake of 300 new staff members over the next five years.
For more information visit spenergynetworks.co.uk. In the event of a power outage or incident, please contact the SP Energy Networks emergency hotline by calling 105 or 0800 001 5400.