Dragons Double Club
Newport Gwent Dragons rugby region has teamed up with CILT Cymru to run a new project, the French Double Club, which combines language learning and rugby skills training.
Inspired by the successful and award-winning Arsenal FC Double Club, the project is a 6-week programme of 40 minute French sessions followed by 40 minutes of rugby skills. The Dragons provide the skills coaching and all resources for the French sessions are provided by CILT Cymru. The aims of the project are to raise the profile of French and language learning generally amongst pupils, particularly boys, leading to improved motivation and take-up in French in school; to raise the profile of rugby amongst pupils, particularly girls and to highlight the importance of fitness and healthy living.
This term, the project has been running as a pilot in Llanwern and Duffryn High Schools. Pupils have enjoyed learning about rugby positions in French and the locations of top French rugby teams, as well as developing their skills in running, dodging, agility and teamwork.
For Llanwern High School pupils, their project culminated on 19th November with a day out at Rodney Parade, where they had a tour of the stadium, took part in a final skills training session and met and interviewed Jon Evans, Dragons player and ambassador for the project.
Llanwern high School pupils celebrate at Rodney Parade
The pupils thoroughly enjoyed their day at Rodney Parade, with highlights being meeting Jon Evans, the stadium tour and going home with a Dragons flag and tickets to see the Dragons play against Bordeaux-Bègles in the Amlin Cup – how appropriate!
For Ceri James, Director of CILT Cymru, the project is a great way of showing young people that language learning can give you and edge in all walks of life, particularly in sport: : “Several high-profile Welsh rugby players are now plying their trade in France, which shows that sport is no exception when it comes to the modern labour market. The sportspeople that succeed when abroad tend to be those that make a real effort to immerse themselves in the culture and language of their new home. Most agree that it is easier to learn a new language when you are young and this project combines language-learning and rugby in a fun and motivating way. We wish the Newport Gwent Dragons Double club every success – Allez les Dragons!”
Mike Sage, Newport Gwent Dragons Community Manager adds: “The Double club initiative at Llanwern School has been a major success and it’s great to use the vehicle of sport to promote education and support the learning of another language which will prove invaluable in the students’ future. The students have been very enthusiastic and a real credit to their school, hence they have been invited to the home of the Newport Gwent Dragons for a special behind the scenes regional visit at the Rodney Parade stadium. The project has been a great success and we are looking forward to the second programme being equally successful at Duffryn High.”
Duffryn pupils in training
Last word goes to Menna Williams, Head of Languages at Llanwern High: “I think the pilot project has been a complete success with pupils (girls and boys) thoroughly enjoying both the French and rugby content. They have been enthusiastic to attend the club and have expanded their knowledge in both areas. I would definitely hope to continue with this next year.”