Project Rugby and Bristol Bears help rugby novice develop into sporting prospect

Bristol Bears’ rising star Tiara Brown has gone from absolute rookie to one of England’s brightest talents in four years, a journey that all started with Project Rugby.

As a child, Tiara often struggled with physical activity and was a teenager when she first picked up a rugby ball as a ninth year student at Bristol Brunel Academy. Tiara and about a dozen other children attended a Project Rugby session led by Bristol Bears Community Foundation head coach Rich Hynes and their lives were changed forever.

Premiership Rugby’s Project Rugby program is run in conjunction with partners Gallagher, Premiership Rugby’s title partner, and the RFU and aims to bring the benefits of rugby to as many people as possible. Project Rugby has engaged over 75,000 young people since the program began and aims to encourage more players from diverse ethnic or low socioeconomic backgrounds and people with disabilities to try rugby through sessions held in more than 200 locations across England are offered that are welcoming and easily accessible to participants.


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Despite having little experience or knowledge of the game, Project Rugby started a fire under Tiara and four years later the back row forward is reaping the rewards.

“Rugby changed my life a lot. It changed my friendship groups, literally changed everything,” Tiara said

“My fitness is so much better and I feel like rugby has changed my outlook on life in general a lot. I was a very angry kid and now I’ve calmed down. Being in the rugby community brought out a different character in me. It has built my confidence and made me such a happy person. I don’t know what I would do without it.

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Tiara, now 17, was selected for England’s U18 women’s Six Nations final squad, having previously coached as part of the England U18 Pathway scheme. She credits Project Rugby and the Bears Community Foundation for her success and maintains a close relationship with coach Hynes who started her rugby journey.

“I had a training session with Rich who was just teaching me a few things about rugby and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “He introduced me to a local club, North Bristol RFC, and I just progressed from there.

Since joining North Bristol RFC and becoming more involved with Bears, Brown has made rapid progress and the last 12 months have seen two major breakthroughs. Not only was she captain of her club side, but she was also on her way to England at the Bristol Bears Center of Excellence.

Tiara added: “It’s been going really well lately. Coming into the England lineup I’m enjoying it a lot and learning a lot of new things about the sport.”

“It means a lot to me that I embarked on this English path. It showed me that there was a whole new level of rugby.

“Hopefully for the future I want to turn pro and play for England and the Bristol Bears. That is my goal.”

Bristol Bears Community Foundation head coach Rich Hynes couldn’t be more enthusiastic about Brown’s rapid rise.

“Lately the pressure and expectation of what she’s used to from club rugby has increased and she’s really embraced that,” he said.

“I’m really proud of how she has focused on her rugby, committed to becoming a better rugby player and really embraced all the core values ​​of the sport. At Bristol Bears we believe better people make better rugby players and she certainly is a very good rugby player.

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Charles Scott, Chief Financial Officer at Partners Gallagher and a Project Rugby volunteer, said: “It’s great to hear how being involved with Project Rugby has made such a huge difference to Tiara’s outlook on life. To think that she has progressed from total rugby novice to potential England player in just four years shows brilliant dedication from her and is a great example of how being involved in a sport like rugby can really transform a young person’s life can change. We’re excited to be a part of this extremely worthwhile initiative and hope we can help play a part in many more stories like Tiara’s.

To find out more about Project Rugby and to find a session near you, visit

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