LAKERS School were the big winners at an RFU girls rugby tournament at Hartpury College last Friday, writes Laura Fell.
The Berry Hill school emerged winners in both the Under-13 and Under-15 RFU tournaments, which means both teams have progressed to the RFU regional finals at Weston Hornets this weekend.
In the Under-13 age group Forest E-ACT Academy also finished in the top two while in the Under-15 age group Dene Magna School will also progress to the regional finals.
The top two schools from each regional event will compete in the national final at Twickenham at half time of the historical Army Vs. Navy Game on May 3.
Local Gloucestershire school Dene Magna are current Under 13 Champions, and will contest the Under-15 regional finals this year.
In the touch rugby tournament, Ribston Hall were crowned overall winners with High School for Girls in second place.
Bournside School and Pates Grammar School were joint in third place.
But for community coach Tom Edolls, seeing almost 200 girls from 16 schools playing rugby was the most important thing.
He said: “It was as much about positive playing experiences as it was about winning.
“It was a very enjoyable day and I think the girls loved it. They all went away with participation medals.
“Former England captain Sarah Hunter was also there and she gave the sides some great advice and also took the whistle for a game as well.
“The girls were really grateful to be playing alongside her.
“The event ran very smoothly and some great rugby was played in all age-groups.”
This is the second year running that the RFU have held this tournament in Gloucestershire in a bid to encourage the rapidly developing sport in the county.
The RFU aim to grow the game to girls, linking schools development with local clubs to support existing and emerging girls sections in Gloucestershire.
Edolls said: “Girls and women’s rugby is one of the fastest developing sports in the world.
“Tournaments like this mean it will continue to be so. I was amazed how much the tournament has grown - there were more schools and more girls than last year.
“These girls had really positive playing experiences and that participation and enjoyment will only mean it will continue to grow.”
Anyone interested in playing rugby should visit the Gloucestershire RFU website www.gloucestershirerfu.co.uk for further details on local clubs.