As we mentioned in the Saracens programme, this season we will be supporting Swansea Gladiators, as our sponsored charity. Below is a short description of the ethos and function of the Gladiators; I am sure that once you have read it, you will have nothing but admiration for the work that the volunteers running the club undertake.
Once again, thanks for the generosity that both Ospreys and visiting supporters have shown in supporting our efforts to date!
We will hand over to Matthew Germine, one of the coaches , who will explain why the Gladiators exist and some of the activities they enjoy!
The Swansea Gladiators were formed in 1991 at Fforestfach Day Centre, when a young man who was using the service, saw some of the support staff throwing a rugby ball around on their break, asked a very simple question –
“can I play rugby too?”
Over the next few months, what started out as just passing a ball around at break time, evolved into structured training sessions with tangible benefits for everyone involved. Our first game against a “Veteran select XV”, in a few short months’ people had gone from being told that they couldn’t play rugby because of their disability to saying I will play rugby because of my ability!
With a strong focus on the social aspect of rugby, the Gladiators has become a vessel for developing people’s interpersonal skills and physical characteristics. We have been fortunate to have hundreds of people play for us to date – each of them add something different to the club and each of them benefits in a different way too.
During our first 29 years we have we have been based at a few different clubs including Waunarlwydd RFC, Gowerton RFC and, since 2001, Swansea Uplands RFC. Without this support The Swansea Gladiators may not have had the impact that it has had.
We have been on many tours – something that some of our players may not have had the opportunity to do previously – including biennial trips to Ireland and Scotland during the Six Nations, to Canada in 2010.
In 2017 we visited the Basque Country and participated in the most recent International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART), where we finished 5th! We will be travelling to Cork, Ireland for the next instalment of IMART in June 2020 where we hope to go four better!
We train twice a week – every Tuesday at Swansea RFC and Thursday at Swansea Uplands RFC with an average of 20 participants who push themselves and challenge preconceptions every time they lace up their boots.
Our club motto is Friendship through sport, and we try and base everything that we do to achieve it. Many thanks to you, the Ospreys supporters for supporting us this season!