- Once in a lifetime chance at Home of England Rugby
- XL clubs in London generate new interest in the game
Photo: RFU Archive
Young rugby players from Feltham Community College and West London Academy enjoyed the chance of a lifetime to play on the famous Twickenham Stadium turf before this year’s England v Scotland match.
The youngsters had all got involved with the game through The Prince’s Trust and they played tag rugby on the Twickenham pitch before forming a guard of honour near the players’ tunnel as the stars of England and Scotland ran out for the RBS 6 Nations match won by England 22-16.
Six years ago the RFU partnered with The Prince’s Trust to take tag rugby into London schools running XL clubs.
XL clubs are run by The Prince’s Trust and work with young people who are facing difficulties at school, including those at risk of exclusion. Members attend at least three hours each week, and are guided by an XL club adviser.
The ‘Rugby in Community – Community in Rugby’ project began with a pool of four West London XL schools. Now it comprises 13 schools stretching from Hillingdon to Hackney, engaging young people from every area and background in the capital.
The project consists of a four-week Community Sports Leadership Award, during which girls and boys participate in classroom-based discussion sessions on the nature of leadership and the importance of role models, and outdoor practical sessions where they learn how to play and teach tag rugby.
The course included a stadium tour of Twickenham and culminated in a rugby festival at the University of Westminster ground in Chiswick.
Young people who have previously shown little interest in sport soon find themselves addicted and the influence of the scheme extends beyond simple enjoyment. They develop key life skills for their careers and studies, and can even gain a new sense of focus: after the 2007 programme, 100 per cent of participants from Feltham went on to either further education or full-time employment.