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Robbie Henshaw and Ian McKinley Launch new Vision Impaired Rugby Coaching Guide

Two women in red tops are holding bright yellow rugby balls. In between them are Ian McKinley and Robbie Henshaw who are holding Vision Sports Ireland and Mayfest signs, respectively. All four people are standing under rugby goal posts.

Friday May 19th 2023 – Vision Sports Ireland and IRFU are proud to launch their Vision Impaired Rugby Coaching Guide. The launch of the guide comes in advance of the first vision impaired rugby game to be held in Ireland, where Ireland’s Old Wesley Vision Impaired rugby team will take on UK vision impaired team, Harlequins as part of Vision Sports Ireland’s Mayfest event celebrations on 27th May at 12:30pm at UCD.

MayFest is Vision Sports Ireland multisport come and try weekend for people who are blind or vision impaired and all are invited to come along and support Ireland’s first Vision Impaired (VI) Rugby team take to the field for what promises to be a historical and wonderful occasion.

The Vision Impaired Rugby Coaching guide has been developed in partnership with The Change Foundation, for coaches, teachers and volunteers to help improve confidence and knowledge around coaching VI Rugby.

Vision Sports Ireland CEO Aaron Mullaniff commented “The publication of this guide recognises Vision Sports’ commitment to bringing new and innovative sports to Ireland for people who are vision impaired to enjoy. In late 2021, Vision Sports partnered with the IRFU and the Change Foundation to introduce VI Rugby into Ireland for the first time with male and female players playing the game regularly.”

IRFU Disability & Inclusion Officer, David McKay added “The IRFU are really grateful to Vision Sports Ireland and The Change Foundation for their support in helping to develop this guide.  The enthusiasm from all of the players and coaches has shown a real demand to provide effective training for VI rugby.”

At the launch of the guide, Vision Impaired Rugby Advocate and former International Rugby Player Ian McKinley said “VI Rugby provides an opportunity for people with a vision impairment to play rugby for the first time or to reconnect with the game. With the help of the Change Foundation, Old Wesley RFC, Vision Sports Ireland and the IRFU, the very first VI game will take place at Mayfest on the 27th May. Here’s to a wonderful day and being able to showcase our game.”

Old Wesley VI Rugby player Mia Nolan added “I never thought I would have the opportunity to take part in such a fantastic team set up here at Old Wesley RFC. I have met some amazing people. This coaching resource is going to be great for inclusion and getting more people like me with a vision impairment involved in rugby”.

The Vision Impaired Rugby Coaching Guide is available in digital format on the Vision Sports Ireland website and the IRFU website. Coaches, teachers, volunteers and anyone interested in promoting inclusivity in rugby are encouraged to access and utilise the resource.