Argentinian Rugby Legends Patricio Albacete, Marcelo Loffreda and Les Cusworth joined the British Ambassador and 600 children on the new Hurling Club annex in Buenos Aires to launch Atlas's All Schools Programme in Argentina on Saturday 3rd November.

Stars of Rugby and Society get their hands dirty for the kids of Buenos Aires.

Rugby players are used to wiping dirt off their hands, but not normally as a way of educating children. On Saturday 3rd November, Patricio Albacete, Marcelo Loffreda and Les Cusworth, all highly decorated international rugby stars, joined the British Ambassador, Mark Kent, and Sally Pettipher, CEO of international charity The Atlas Foundation, to launch a rugby education programme for kids from some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires.

The Atlas Foundation “All Schools” programme uses rugby to improve discipline, determination and respect for authority with 600 children from deprived neighbourhoods. Studies of previous programmes in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia have shown important improvements in pupil’s exam results and reductions in anti-social behaviour and crime from those taking up rugby.

Local Headteacher Gustavo Bidegain from School #9 in Hurlingham said “We introduced rugby three months ago with the help of Tomy Walker from Curupyati Rugby Club, we are noticing improvements in children’s behaviour already. This will make a difference to their school work and to their future employment. I am not a rugby person but I am convinced by the evidence that it works well as a social development tool”

As a symbol of new hope with deep roots and a long future, a tree was presented by Hurling Club President Andres Quinn, and planted by the rugby champions and political dignitaries present.

In Buenos Aires the Atlas Foundation is now working with four Rugby Clubs: Hurling, Retiro, Curupyati and Virrejes. Each club has a rugby manager working in schools in the poorest neighbourhoods nearby, helping spread the ethic and discipline of rugby, and welcoming new players to their clubs to further embed the values of the game with these children. 

Juan (Chipi) Figallo, current Pumas Prop is a Rugby Champion for Atlas, and Patricio Albacete and Marcelo Loffreda now join him at Atlas to support this important programme. “I am happy to join Chipi and the other international Rugby Champions. It is always a pleasure to help with this kind of work.” said Albacete.