Rihoy & Son is proudly sponsoring the Guernsey Rugby Academy for a further year, which provides opportunities for around 400 children ages 5 to 18 to play rugby on Guernsey and in the UK. We spoke to Andy Creber, Director of the Guernsey Rugby Academy to find out more about his passion for the sport and why sponsorship is vital for the academy’s success.
Hi Andy, please explain what your role at the academy has been over the years and how you have seen this evolve.
I first became involved with the Academy some 16 years ago, when my eldest son was playing for the Under 8’s. I took over the role of manager and followed this age group through to Colts. I then joined the committee in 2017 and have taken an active role in helping run the Academy since then. I’m currently a Director of the Academy.
When did you discover your own passion for rugby and why do you feel it is important to share this passion with the next generation?
I have always had a keen interest in rugby from playing at school and the very occasional social game more than 30 years ago. But my passion really came to the fore when all three of my sons took up the sport. I rapidly realized that rugby is much more than just a sport, it becomes a way of life. It helps players become stronger both on and off the pitch, building strong well-balanced individuals and within a rugby family which promotes a truly inclusive environment to flourish from.
What benefits does a sport like ruby provide for young people in 2023?
Apart from the obvious fitness benefits, rugby offers so much more. It breeds confidence and encourages teamwork and lifelong friendships, there is a saying ‘play together / stay together’. Rugby is incredibly diverse, with different positions to suit all shapes & sizes. There are not many sports where every player knows and follows a core set of values (Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship), ask any player and ‘TREDS’ is rattled off in a heartbeat. We play to win but not at all costs and recognise both endeavour and achievement.
Can you describe any highlights during your time at the academy and any part of your involvement which has made you feel particularly proud of your involvement and what you do?
During my time there have been a number of highlights, each season there will be a team or player which stands out. I am immensely proud when I see an Academy player step out for the first time in one of the adult first teams or if they return to coach and give back. Each season the highlight will always be the Junior Siam Festival which bring over 700 players together for a day of rugby with our Jersey cousins.
If I had to choose one highlight, it would be an U12 tour to Exeter where we organized a ‘Super Saturday’ experience with the Exeter Chiefs, which included a tour of their facilitates by one of their first team players and meeting Rob Baxter. The squad enjoyed watching the Chiefs play Harlequins, at the end of the match they met Chris Robshaw, who gave them time for Q&As and autographs. On the following day we organized a mini tournament with a number of teams in Devon, including Barnstable, Devonport, Exmouth and Exeter Saracen. The players were truly inspired from this weekend, and I can safely say that trip cemented another generation’s passion for the sport. Some 12 years on many of our squad continue to play an active role in the adult game.
Why is sponsorship vital for the Guernsey Rugby Academy?
Sponsorship is vital for all grassroots sports and Rugby is no different. We have a very active programme working with young people from tots (reception) to Colts (Year 13), through developing, educating, mentoring and coaching almost 400 players. The Academy is the only rugby club on the Island for young people and relies on corporate generosity and support to deliver our programme. The Academy offers many activities throughout the season; weekly training, playing in local games and in the English league system, strength & conditioning sessions, coaching & refereeing qualifications and continuous, professional development (CPD) sessions.
Funding is of paramount importance to our ability to promote rugby and deliver this youth development program in a sustainable manner, so without the generosity of Rihoy & Son it simply wouldn’t be possible. The rugby values echo much of what lies at the heart of our sponsors that work in partnership with us, and it’s our belief that by living these core values, both on and off the playing field, instils positive qualities in young people and thereby helps them to be positive contributors to the community we all live in.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the benefits of the Academy to those involved or your plans for its future development?
Our future looks bright as can be seen by the number of players we are now developing into the adult game. We are so grateful for the long-term support Rihoy & Son provides us, which makes a massive difference to our community as a whole. Thank you.
Posted: 13 October 2023