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Mayor backs bid to help rugby blossom in Brazil

A PROJECT which promotes the game of rugby in Brazil has secured the support of the Mayor of Rugby.

A delegation from Alma Rugby, a project backed by the Brazilian Rugby Confederation, met with Cllr Anthony Gillias at the Town Hall on Monday (3 March) during a visit to the birthplace of the game.

Alma Rugby - translation, Rugby Soul - aims to promote both the game and its values in Brazil.

And while Brazil prepares to host this summer's football World Cup, Alma Rugby has its sights set on 2016 - when rugby makes its Olympic debut at the games in Rio.

Rugby was brought to Brazil by British immigrants in the late 19th century, with the first recorded game taking place at the Sao Paulo club in 1888.

While it remains in the shadow of Brazil's first love, football, the popularity of the game has grown in recent years and Alma Rugby aims to promote the sport during the run-up to next year's Rugby World Cup.

During the week-long visit, the delegation plans to make a number of short films to inspire Brazilians to visit England for the World Cup.

In addition to the visit to the birthplace of the game - which included a tour of Rugby School and a meeting in the Mayor's Parlour - the delegation also plans to film at Twickenham and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The delegation flies back to Brazil after watching England's Six Nations match against Wales on Saturday.

Cllr Gillias said he was delighted to give Alma Rugby his support.

"Rugby has become a truly global game and it was fantastic to hear of its increasing popularity in Brazil," Cllr Gillias added.

"Alma Rugby not only wants to promote the game, but also its values of respect, discipline and team work.

"We're proud to be the birthplace of rugby football, and look forward to celebrating our town's rich history with visitors from all over the globe during next year's Rugby World Cup."

Alma Rugby plans to broadcast the series of short films on its Facebook page - www.facebook.com/ALMARugby - and its Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/almarugby

Picture caption: Alma Rugby's Samir Trad (left) and Giuliano Passini met Cllr Anthony Gillias in the Mayor's Parlour.

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