Pupils have discovered the possibilities that rugby has to offer

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Many pupils across the region have been learning about rugby because of the Rugby World Cup, writes St John’s College director of sport Kevin Long

Here at St John’s College in Southsea there has been a long and successful history of rugby. Our first sixth form team formed in 1959, and we have been playing school fixtures ever since.

Now all senior school boys play rugby in their weekly games sessions in the autumn term and compete in their teams every Saturday.

In the spring they look forward to the 7s programme while the junior boys start their rugby season.

So, for St John’s it was very hard to ignore the Rugby World Cup and, despite England’s early departure, we were keen to celebrate this international sporting event.

Over the past week students have participated in ‘Rugby World Cup Week’ – a series of events and activities dedicated to the sport.

The themed week has allowed us to instil the core values of rugby and increase awareness of the countries involved, while encouraging other areas of the curriculum to join in the fun.

Across the curriculum in Years 7 to 9 students enjoyed rugby-themed lessons, making subjects come alive with a rugby focus. In art students studied the rugby animation produced by ITV, students designed kits and logos in design and technology lessons, in biology students used food testing to analyse ergogenic aids, while in physics students studied the physics of a scrum.

Even our maths teachers got involved – planning lessons around the angles used in passing the ball.

In history students learnt about the First World War and its effect on rugby, and in religious studies meditation was discussed as a source of focus for many sportsmen – in particular Jonny Wilkinson who had used Zen Buddhism in his sporting life.

I was delighted to see the theme had caught on in our dining hall too, with our catering team offering a range of culinary delights from various World Cup countries such as coq au vin, traditional Irish stew, and Cape Malay chicken.

Beyond the curriculum, and in addition to our games and PE sessions, we ran a lunchtime rugby clinic for boys and girls.

The girls could find out more about our new girls’ rugby club, which starts after the half term.

Rugby has much more to offer than just the playing itself. Rugby installs discipline, teamwork, respect, sportsmanship and enjoyment – all desirable attributes.