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Sevens and Touch boosted by England stars at Grasshoppers community festival

15 May 2012

  • England men and women among eight international teams visiting
  • Primary and secondary schools joined by adults to play sevens and touch
Samoa sevens squad with girls at Grasshoppers festival

Photo: RFU Archive

The Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium (May 12-13), which was the final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series for 2011-12, was celebrated by a community festival at Grasshoppers RFC in Osterley, Middlesex, in which schools and adult players from around London met international stars including England’s men’s and women’s teams.

The 21 primary school teams and 15 from secondary schools met eight international sides throughout a day of rugby (Wednesday, May 9) that included a girls’ development session with the England women’s side who went on to win the IRB Sevens Challenge Cup at Twickenham.

England’s men who finished third in the HSBC Sevens World Series brought 12 players including Dan Norton, Chris Cracknell and James Rodwell plus coaches and management, and spent an hour watching and coaching the youngsters, followed by a Q&A session in the clubhouse.

There were coaching sessions too from the USA and Australia, a presentation from the Fijian side to Grasshoppers RFC accompanied by a song, and in the evening 35 adult players defied rainy weather to spend more than half an hour playing Touch Rugby with the Samoan side, who then performed their Siva Tau war dance.

The Touch Rugby supported the RFU’s Touch London programme that encourages public and private sector workers around the capital to take up this easy to learn and fun version of the 15-a-side game.

More than £250 was raised for the RFU Injured Players Foundation and the Tag Rugby Trust with a raffle and ticket auction.

England Sevens head coach Ben Ryan said: “It was an excellent event and there are lots of excellent young players in the making in this area of London.

“We really enjoyed watching the action, getting involved and fielding some tough questions from the schools teams taking part.”