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A boost for Manx rugby 17 July 2007

The future of Manx sport continues to look bright with the appointment of a new Rugby Development Officer.

The Department of Tourism and Leisure has recently appointed Ian Williams to work within the Sports Development Unit at Manx Sport and Recreation. This is the latest major step forward following the implementation of the Isle of Man Sport and Recreation Strategy, 2002-2012.

The scheme sets out a vision for the continued development and growth of sport on the Island over a ten year period and has already seen the appointment of a Hockey and Badminton Development Officer, Dominic Hobdell.

Funding for the specific sport development officers is provided by The Isle of Man Sports Council in conjunction with Heritage Homes with additional funding for the specific areas i.e. rugby and hockey, provided by various sporting organisations.

Geoff Karran, Executive Chairman of Isle of Man Sports Council said:

‘With the financial support from Heritage Homes, I am delighted to see another Sports Specific Development Officer in place, which will assist in achieving our aims and objectives over the forthcoming years.’

In addition to The IOM Sports Council and Heritage Homes, this particular part of the scheme will be funded by The Manx Rugby Football Union (MRFU) and Rugby Football Union (RFU). Ian Williams commented: ‘It is great to see such support and enthusiasm for a scheme like this. The continued financial support of all these organisations is very much appreciated and will play a major role in developing all aspects of Rugby on the Island.’

Joe McLoughlin, Planning Director for Heritage Homes is very proud to be associated with the scheme:

‘We are once again, extremely pleased to be working in partnership with the Isle of Man Sports Council with its ongoing development of sport on the Island. This scheme plays a pivotal role in attracting and harnessing more and more children into sport and providing them with essential life skills in our community’.

Ian will be taking on a number of tasks in his new role as RDO. The first of these will be to build a database of information regarding the current status of rugby on the Isle of Man. This database will include information such as the number of adult and junior players on the Island, both in clubs and at schools. Ian, in conjunction with RFU, MRFU, MSR and the Island’s clubs and schools will then identify required areas of development and create an action plan.

Ian is also keen to improve the overall communication between all those with an interest in Rugby on the Island:

‘My main aim is to build a network of people who wish to see Rugby flourish in the Isle of Man. Anyone who would like to help, from making tea, taking registers’, playing and coaching at all levels, arranging tours and fixtures or just helping out in any way you feel comfortable, please get in touch, your help is always needed and appreciated.’

In addition to assessing the current status of Manx rugby, creating an action plan for development and improving communications in the Island’s rugby community, Ian also plans to create a Tag Rugby, All Island Competition, played by Primary Schools and to help the MRFU with their Junior League Structure, all in his first year:

‘It’s going to be a busy time for me and there is a lot to do, but I wouldn’t have accepted the challenge if I didn’t believe it could be achieved.’

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