Coventry Bears legacy forms as World Cup excitement grows in the city

Published Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Thanks to Coventry Bears Rugby League Club, the sport is making huge strides in Coventry.

Pictured: Alphas Rugby League Satellite Club
Pictured: Alphas Rugby League Satellite Club

The club has been making use of Rugby League World Cup funding while restarting their professional matches and making a bigger difference than ever in the city’s communities ahead of Coventry’s Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) game this October. 

Coventry Bears has recently launched three rugby league satellite clubs in Coventry and the West Midlands; the Alphas, Griffins and Knights, each with their own kit and 13-week training plan, funded by Rugby League World Cup 2021’s ‘Created By’ programme. 

After just six weeks, the new clubs have registered over 250 players and coaches, with volunteers also offering their time to support the club’s growth. 

Coventry City Council supported Coventry Bears in successfully securing £30,000 of funding from the governing body, The Rugby Football League, for the next two years. 

With that funding, founder of the club, Alan Robinson, along with professional rugby league player, Kieran Sherratt, have delivered a schools development programme across the city. So far, the sessions have been a huge success with 12 local schools signed up to the initiative.  

In just four weeks, more than 900 children have been coached in both lessons and in after school clubs with outstanding feedback from school staff and parents. The funding will enable Coventry Bears to deliver activity in Coventry schools for years to come.  

Alongside this, the Bears’ professional team is doing well, winning two of the first six games of the season, having played the top two teams pushing for promotion already. 

With the long-anticipated return of fans being able to watch games at the Butts Parks Arena, the club is seeing some new signings and the best club culture for years. 

Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “I’m so pleased to hear about all of the community work that is taking place in the build-up to our Rugby League World Cup match later this year. This is a key reason as to why we strategically want to bring major sporting events like this to the city. 

“It’s great to see so many communities involved in safe sport and physical activity after it being restricted for so long. I’m glad that grassroots sport is developing and enabling wider communities to be active and take part in physical activity. 

“I’d like to congratulate Coventry Bears on the fantastic work they continue to carry out across the city and I look forward to seeing even more rugby league activity in our communities soon.” 

Rugby league community opportunities are also on offer for adults in Coventry too, with more than 400 adults currently playing Try Tag Rugby every week. A free taster session is available on 24 June, with a Try Tag Rugby festival taking place on 10 July.  

Debbie Watson, CEO for Coventry Bears Rugby League Club and Community Coordinator for Bears in the Community CIC, said: “We feel really lucky to be able to get back up and running and kickstart the great things we have been planning throughout lockdown – both the professional team and our community work. 

“We have established a great link with the Coventry School Games Organisers and continue to build relationships with local schools to give the youth in the city the opportunity to try a new sport this summer and for many years to come. 

“Our community work is bigger and better than ever before and we are delighted to be back out in the sunshine, operating at full capacity and once again having an offer for anyone who wants to get involved in playing, volunteering, or watching the sport!” 

All upcoming rugby league matches, satellite club developments and schools training programmes are a part of the exciting run up to Coventry’s RLWC 2021 match where Scotland will play Australia at The Ricoh Arena, which will be named Coventry Building Society Arena from this summer on Friday 29 October.  

More information on Coventry Bears Rugby Club can be found on their website.  

More information about Try Tag Rugby playing opportunities can be found at www.trytagrugby.com  

To enquire about rugby league community activity, email [email protected]  

To keep up-to-date on tickets sales for the RLWC 2021 Scotland V Australia match in Coventry, head to the RLWC 2021 website. 

Coventry City Council