The Marsa rugby grounds were a hive of activity recently as young players from different age groups gathered for their monthly Rugby Festival held under the auspices of the Malta Rugby Football Union (MRFU).

As usual, it was the Minis who epitomised the energy, enthusiasm and sheer enjoyment these sessions create. Only half the usual players were present because of the carnival but the whole of the playing areas were still covered in action.

This is where they start to refine the skills of the game and control their energies into directed team effort, under the guidance of national youth coach Pancho Holliday, with his team and their club coaches.

Of course, the majority present were Maltese but there were some from other countries, too, with parents watching or coaching.

Joseph Borda, MRFU vice president, is the driving force behind all this effort, firmly guided on technical matters by Damien Neill the Director of Rugby.

MRFU head Steve Busuttil was keeping an eye on all the activities as the juniors reflected their love to run with the ball in hand.

It was most encouraging to see that Valletta Lions are re-establishing themselves with great enthusiasm after having fallen by the wayside a few years ago.

World Rugby have sent packs of colour vests for the Minis and are showing constant interest and heaping praise for the effort being made in Malta.

Lack of referees, due to lack of training in the previous three years, might have caused a problem, but this is being met with skill and enthusiasm under the guidance of Lionel da Silva who has nine trainees in his capable hands, seven Maltese, two foreign, and four ladies.

Two of the male officials are already experienced and will be full time as they retire from playing.

With more clubs coming up through the ranks and this great effort by Malta School of Rugby the future of the game looks bright.


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