Brunei Rugby Football Union advisor (4th L) Ainol Razman Ghazaly, Director Co-Curriculum Education at the Ministry of Education Pg Suhaimi Pg Hj Bakar (6th L) and corporate sponsors pose for a photo after the press conference at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, in Gadong, yesterday. BT/ Faiq Airudin
BRFU (Brunei Rugby Football Union) hope their latest programme can help identify players for future rugby tournaments.
The union is looking to get 4,000 children for their 'Get Into Rugby' programme - an International Rugby Board (IRB) initiative - by the end of the year.
"We are hoping to get 10 per cent retention," BRFU Advisor Ainol Razman Ghazaly said during a press briefing at the Mall, Gadong yesterday.
"Four hundred would be enough to stay in the game, and once they stay, we can have kids playing from the age of four," he noted.
He added that this will ensure there will then be group of players to represent the country who have been playing for years.
"We need to find the talent right now so when Brunei hosts the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2019, they will be at the peak of their rugby career in their twenties," Ainol added.
The 'Get into Rugby' programme starts this Sunday at the Berakas Sports Complex with 400 registered participants between the ages of four and 14.
Participating schools include government and private schools, and around 100 teacher and parent volunteers are also expected on the day.
He said that participants can also turn up on the day but shirts are limited.
Ainol explained the Co-Curricular Education (CCE) Department under the Ministry of Education has helped in getting children from all districts involved in the programme.
He explained the programme will take around three hours and participants will work on core skills and then get to play the sport for two hours.
"If the response is good they will start working with the department to organise schools tournaments or programmes," said Ainol.
Fifty-eight teachers from school across the country will be involved on Sunday, and they will be assisted by eight trainers who are undergoing the Level 2 IRB Coaching Course facilitated by Singaporean coach Ismail Kadir.
He added that the eight trainers will be "absorbed" into schools to coach students who are 14 and above for contact rugby. Students who are above 14 years old will train in rugby sevens.
He concluded by saying that the event is open to both sexes and the programme on Sunday will see the sexes separated.
The BRFU said that they will help promote the sport to women and work with authorities to comply to their standards.
The union is receiving support from Baiduri Bank, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Insurance Islam Taib, DHL, RainFresh and The Brunei Times to improve the popularity of the game in the country.