Tom Redfern and team in Brazil.jpg

COACH Tom Redfern says the Brazilian flair for rugby union has grown markedly during his spell in South America.

The former Cleobury Mortimer Rugby Club fly-half says football-mad Brazilians are finding rugby refreshing and enjoying the sport with enthusiasm.

Redfern has been working in Brazil in an award-winning rugby inclusion and social change project for Premiership Rugby, British Council and SESI-SP.

He said: “In a country that is dominated by football, participants are excited by our presence in Brazil and the opportunities that we are providing them.

“Seeing them excel and develop has been fantastic.

“With the Olympics in two years’ time closing upon us, we hope this enthusiasm continues across Brazil and that this enthusiasm continues to grow and further increase the participation, interest and quality of rugby in the South American country.”

He added: “We are delivering our initiative programme in three different states in Brazil.

“With new partners, new coaches, more teachers and more participants now playing and learning about the sport with the oval ball.

“Premiership Rugby have now expanded and developed partnerships with SESI-FIEMG, FIESC and FIESP across the new states of Santa Caterina and Mina's Gerais as well as SESI São Paulo where it all started.”

Redfern has been based in Jacarei which, he says, is now a hot-bed for rugby.

“With some of the best teams in Brazil based in this area so already there is an understanding and a bit of an enthusiasm for rugby. Bearing in mind it is Brazil and many people still have never heard of the game.”

“The students, teachers and players whom I worked with certainly have shown that here there is massive potential.

“In just six months I have formed boys and girls aged between 15 to 17 years old who have played games already and are looking to play some competitions leading into the new year.

“From what started off with a group of five boys and two girls has now turned into a group of 16 boys and nine girls which is credit to the commitment and development. As well now progressing onto contact with younger age groups, which previously was only Tag, in order to prepare them for games and full contact in the future.”

“Off the pitch this group has been working hard too.

"They've done various referee days and accredited courses with Brazil Rugby allowing them to referee at festivals we deliver across the state contributing to the 350 teachers and volunteers that we already work with.

"For some who have aspirations to become PE teachers this has allowed them to get ahead of the game and already have a go at delivering and coaching Sport lessons which will massively aid their future and aspirations.”