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WITNEY WOLVES WELCOME WOODEN SPOON FESTIVAL

Hundreds of young players turned on the talent and smiles to showcase the growing popularity of Special Educational Needs (SEN) rugby at Wooden Spoon’s Dell-sponsored International Tag Festival.

This year’s tournament, which was hosted by Witney Rugby Club in Oxfordshire, attracted 14 teams from across the UK and Ireland.

The players – who were roared on from the sidelines by more than 400 friends and relatives and Wooden Spoon lead ambassador Phil Vickery – were a credit to the fast-evolving form of the sport, according to host coach Jeremy Bristoe.

“It is really great [for those taking part] to be included, feel part of a community and part of a fantastic family,” explained the Witney Wolves boss. “[SEN rugby] is happiness, it is joy.

“The great thing about this festival is that we’ve had a high-profile player like Phil Vickery here so the profile has gone through the roof and the future is global now.

“We are already trying to involve people in Italy and there is certainly a future for SEN rugby in the UK.”

Former England captain and World Cup winner Phil also commended those taking part for demonstrating the inclusivity of sport.

“It is not about having issues, disabilities or difficulties, it is just playing rugby and playing it with a smile on your face.”

Read more on this story in the next issue of Spoonews, in homes and rugby clubs this September. To view the Spring/Summer 2017 edition, click here