GIRLS of all ages from Settle College were put through their paces by former England international Tamara Taylor, as the CBRE All Schools programme found its way to North Ribblesdale RUFC.

The RFU’s innovative All Schools Programme aims to promote rugby as a sport for all and has created a positive legacy in England through rugby and its core values, looking to inspire the next generation of female rugby players.

After setting up the programme in 2012, the RFU recently introduced rugby to a 750th state secondary school, with the number of women and girls registered to play rugby in clubs almost trebling since the initiative was introduced.

The evening event saw more than 20 girls in attendance, with Taylor, who has more than 100 caps for England, offering advice to the enthusiastic youngsters.

The World Cup winner was delighted with what she saw on the pitch, and impressed with the number of budding youngsters in attendance, thanks in part to the All Schools programme that started in September.

“The All Schools programme is awesome because it goes into schools that don’t ordinarily play rugby, and offers children an opportunity to play a sport that’s maybe seen as a little bit different, especially for girls,” the Darlington Mowden Park Sharks player-coach said.

“I always look at things like this and think that would’ve been amazing if I had been an 11-year-old and was able to join a club or do some rugby at school.

“All of those grassroots clubs will be the ones that feed players into the Tyrrells Premier 15s and into international rugby, so you wouldn’t have an England team if you didn’t have these sort of projects and these types of rugby clubs.”

The girls were given a lesson in the art of tackling by the former Red Rose during the session, as well as playing small games of touch rugby.

North Ribblesdale RUFC has seen a growth in girls participating recently, and their enthusiasm for the game was evident, despite the winter weather.

“I started a year ago. I love playing rugby, it’s so fun,” said Grace French, 12. “I come down every week if I can make it. I thought I’d give it a go, and the first time I did I really loved it, so I came and tried to learn the game.”

The influx of new talent has allowed the club to grow, with the girls recently attending a rugby festival in Cumbria. There are also plans to establish a complete pathway for the girls to come right through the age groups to the women’s side.

“When I first started here we had seven or eight girls, and it’s developed so much over time. Now we’ve got two teams and looking to develop the under-18s, so hopefully as time goes by we can build on that,” said under-13s coach Sarah Walker.

“All the girls love it on a Friday night, it’s a sort of social as well where they can be with their friends, it’s a bit of a family.”

CBRE All Schools, supported by Canterbury, is one of the RFU’s key legacy programmes, set up to increase the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union in England. Visit to find out more.