CLEOBURY’S Tom Redfern is tackling social change and passing on his rugby union skills to students in Brazil.
The former Cleobury Mortimer Rugby Club fly-half says football-mad Brazilians are finding rugby refreshing and enjoying the sport with enthusiasm.
Now Redfern is hoping some of the students will be playing rugby for the South American country at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
“This is a great scheme,” said Redfern, who is working on an award winning rugby inclusion and social change project for Premiership Rugby, British Council and SESI-SP.
“I'm doing what I love - coaching and rugby and in a beautiful country. Brazil is dominated by football so this in itself is a challenge.
“There are not many other countries in the world dominated by one sport but the people are finding rugby refreshing and taking to it so positively and with so much enthusiasm.
“The project is about creating social change, using the values of rugby to enhance social change. We are also increasing the knowledge and understanding of rugby in the build up to 2016 Olympics because Rugby Sevens will be launched for the first time. “
Redfern, who took up the Brazilian role in August, has previously played at Mantova in Italy.
“Brazil is a great country, with strong personalities who have got a massive opportunity to make a difference using rugby’s values and opportunities,” he said.
“It has been great to see the children understand the values of rugby and play rugby the way it should be played.
“I have visited Rio and seen some of the extraordinary scenery which Brazil has to offer. The job, difficult at times, has been a great experience and a massive learning curve.”
Stourbridge-born Redfern was raised in Cleobury Mortimer and is a former pupil at Lacon Childe School.
“My move to Brazil came about like any normal job,” said Redfern, a former Malvern player who was a youngster at Worcester Warriors.
“The position was advertised by Premiership Rugby in the UK, I applied and got it.”
He added: “My ambition for the future is to get back to playing some to-quality rugby in the next year in England or another country.
“Coaching-wise I would like to move closer to working with older guys and more athletes rather than community-based coaching.”