England rugby star Maro Itoje in Kenya for charity work

Maro Itoje

England national rugby team lock Maro Itoje speals to juniors attending Kings Rugby Festival and Launch of Rugby in a Box at Hillcrest International School on July 26, 2022.

Photo credit: Dan Omoko |

What you need to know:

  • Stuart McGreevy, KRDA founder, said that when the youngsters see Itoje and other rugby role models, they start to believe that they can do it too.
  • The 27-year-old star said that for age grade rugby to grow in the country and for Kenya to be a dominant force worldwide, schools need to be the driving force.

England national rugby team lock Maro Itoje believes vibrant age group competitions form a robust foundation for strong teams.

The 27-year-old star said that for age grade rugby to grow in the country and for Kenya to be a dominant force worldwide, schools need to be the driving force.

"Obviously in a country like Kenya, there's a whole number of different sports that people participate in like athletics and football among others,” said Itoje, who is in the country for charity work and to inspect the projects that Atlas Foundation is currently undertaking in the country.

Maro Itoje

England national rugby team lock Maro Itoje with juniors attending Kings Rugby Festival and Launch of Rugby in a Box at Hillcrest International School on July 26, 2022.

Photo credit: Elijah Ouko | Nation Media Group

Itoje was the chief guest during the Kings Rugby Festival and launch of Rugby-in-a-Box that was organised by Kings Rugby Development Academy (KRDA) in partnership with Atlas Foundation at Hillcrest International School on Tuesday.

The festival saw 19 rugby teams drawn from various public schools and slums in Nairobi compete.

Itoje was in high spirits as he interacted with the kids all through the tournament, offering advice and some bit of rugby lessons.

"The standards were high I have to say. Their future is bright if they keep doing what they're doing," said an elated Itoje, the 2019 Rugby World Cup finalist.

Itoje encouraged the children to stay in school besides working, studying and playing hard.

Rugby in a Box will see the participating schools and organised groups in low income areas benefit from a certified coach and a 40-foot container that has a coach's office, store and two showers for boys and girls.

“This removes the burden of investing in the game, which may be beyond the financial ability of many schools and teams,” noted Itoje.

Each school or organised group will be allocated a certified coach by KRDA and World Rugby.

KRDA, founded in 2014, will partner with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) and various rugby clubs, to develop their young rugby talent and also offer opportunities for the KRDA’s underprivileged young rugby players to train with the various clubs and attend their matches.

Stuart McGreevy, KRDA founder, said that when the youngsters see Itoje and other rugby role models, they start to believe that they can do it too.

“That their dreams can come true. We would encourage that. Why not dream big. Why not play for the national team, why not play for big clubs, why not get signed by international clubs because there's so much talent in Kenya. It's a shame the world can't enjoy it too,” said McGreevy.

"For the young rugby stars, it was a day to savour as they jumped on Maro, danced with him and had great laughs together,” said McGreevy.

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