Walking Rugby - Changing Lives!

If you're looking to get yourself back into sport at a slower pace, then Walking Rugby could be just for you! Here's how the Sport changed Henry's life!





Whether you have won Grand Slams like JPR Williams or never touched a rugby ball before, like 84 year old Frances Jones, Walking Rugby is getting people active physically, socially and mentally all around Wales.


Anyone can play walking rugby, with an emphasis on helping to get Wales’ senior generation more active and also more connected socially.


It is proving a lifeline for some, like 70 year old Henry Swift from Newport who has joined the Torfaen Dragons in Cwmbran. 


“I played rugby most of my life until I got a bit older and you don’t get out so much. Walking rugby has enabled me to enjoy some dressing room banter again and getting to play on Principality Stadium pitch is a dream for anyone!”


Henry found he’d got into a rut and Walking Rugby has helped no end. 


“It’s been fabulous. Things hadn’t been great for me due to mental health issues. I tend to shrink away a bit, stay on my own out of the way, but the rugby community brings you together, involves you. It’s inclusive and I feel ok. 


“Physically I keep myself fit but mentally I was in a bit of a bad place with nothing really going on and no one to talk to, other than the GP and sometimes you have to wait a long time for an appointment.

I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere and I found things difficult but the guys at walking rugby know me, I don’t make a secret of my issues there – if you feel like you want to talk you can or if others want to talk to me they can too.”


Eight groups took part in the first national Walking Rugby festival, as part of the Road to Principality series of community festivals, finals and one-off matches.


JPR Williams, who is part of the Pontyclun group said, “I thought I’d give it a go and I enjoy it, it encourages players to move the ball! There are no winners, it’s just a bit of fun and as people get on in age they can still participate.”


Frances Jones, 84, is part of the Cambrian walking rugby group. She said, “I was encouraged to give it a go and so I thought why not. Your health is your wealth, you only have one body and you have to look after it so here I am!” 


Working with groups like Men’s Sheds, Torfaen Leisure Trust, Aberystwyth University and People & Work along with rugby clubs and other sports and community organisations, there are currently Walking Rugby groups running in Aberystwyth, Cambrian, Cardiff, Cwmbran, Llanelli, Pontyclun, Pontypridd, Treorchy and Ynysybwl. GPs, such as in Cwm Taf Health Board are even referring patients to walking rugby groups for its physical and mental health benefits.


To find out how to get involved, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Inclusion Festival

The 2019 Road to Principality initiative saw more than 100 teams and more than 1000 players from all over Wales take part in a week-long series of community festivals, schools and club finals and one-off matches.

One whole day was dedicated to inclusion – growing opportunities for everyone to be involved with the game through alternative formats and engaging new participants.

There was a Walking Rugby Festival, a Mixed Ability Festival, the first IGR match to be played at Principality Stadium, and an opportunity for two primary schools based in the shadow of the stadium to benefit from an experience at the home of Welsh rugby following a six week engagement programme run by WRU apprentices. 


Click here for videos of all four of these inclusion events 


Article above courtesy of Liz Jones, WRU - contact Liz for further detials of any of these inclusion initiatives; 

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