Coventry Bears director of rugby Alan Robinson has vowed not to let the latest World Cup setback derail his club from their bigger plans to grow the game.
The Bears were looking forward to welcoming Australia to the city to face Scotland in October, and much of their work in the community over the last couple of years has been building towards locals being able to see the World Champions in action.
However, with the Australians now saying they will not be travelling to the UK for the tournament, it has left Robinson wondering what the wider implications of the decision will be.
“Australia not coming is going to have an impact on us, but what we need to do now is not let their decision damage the legacy that we have already built,” said Robinson.
“The club, and myself, have been going into schools for the last six months or so working with the funding we got on the back of that game coming to Coventry to build interest in it.
“Obviously we don’t know at this stage if that Scotland game is going to be replaced with another or what is happening on that front, but we just need to focus on continuing to promote our own game in our local area.
“We just have to try and focus on the positives of the game. We have kids and others now coming along to our home matches, and it is great that they are able to see the Bears. It would have been great for them to see an international game as well, but hopefully there can still be something to focus on. We’re hoping Coventry will still be a host city and we can still have a game here.
“Through our satellite club we’re now giving kids, who have come from a number of different sports, opportunities that they’ve not had before.
“This latest development is really sad and disappointing. And the thing that’s worse for me is that the amount of work we, as a club, have put in on the back of that World Cup legacy doesn’t really seem to matter to those nations that have pulled out.”
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