The world’s most-capped international rugby player and ex-Wales captain, Alun Wyn Jones, visited Waunarlwydd RFC, in his home-city of Swansea, the former club of current international fullback, Liam Williams, and prop Nicky Smith, as part of a campaign celebrating National Lottery investment into rugby union.
Ahead of Wales’s pool match against Portugal on Saturday, Jones joined members of Waunarlwydd RFC to rally support for Williams, who is in in his third World Cup, Smith, and the Welsh team.
The campaign aims to shine a light on the impact grassroots rugby clubs have on the sport and the future of Welsh rugby.
After announcing his retirement earlier this year, Alun shared a special dedication to his childhood teams, Mumbles and Bonymaen, for guiding him during his formative years. And during his visit to Waunarlwydd RFC, Jones had the chance to meet with the volunteers and officials from the club who are guiding the future generations of potential Welsh stars.
The club is one of the thousands of projects across the UK that benefits from the £30 million raised by National Lottery players every week for good causes. Waunarlwydd RFC received £145,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport Wales, which has gone towards coaching, training equipment and pitch improvements.Since 1994, The National Lottery has invested more than £185 million into rugby union from grassroots to elite level, providing vital support to clubs throughout the UK.
With the help of The National Lottery’s funding for grassroots clubs, generations of players have had the chance to take up the game for the very same teams who’ve helped kick-off the careers of a myriad of professional players.
Alun Wyn Jones said, “At the core of our sport lies grassroots rugby, an arena where every rugby enthusiast discovers their fervour and potential. My personal journey with Mumbles and Bonymaen serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of grassroots rugby. Today, as I stand here at Waunarlwydd RFC, the significance of these community clubs in nurturing tomorrow’s rugby stars becomes even more evident. Funding from The National Lottery plays a pivotal role in realising the aspirations of young athletes and giving them the opportunity to continue the sport that, as a nation, we love to watch and play.”
Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery, added: “Every week National Lottery players raise over £30 million in funding to good causes across the UK, including support for clubs such as Waunarlwydd RFC. Funding for grassroots clubs is essential to keep young people invested in sports, as it teaches them invaluable life skills. With the 2023 Rugby World Cup underway, what better occasion to celebrate the work that Waunarlwydd RFC and other rugby clubs do across Wales to nurture talent and secure the future of the sport.”
For more information on The National Lottery funding visit https://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/funding