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Clubs step up and root down at Twickenham

14 March 2013

  • Grassroots clubs rewarded for signing up for NatWest RugbyForce
  • Club names feature on stadium steps and blades of grass
Club names were written to show the important connection between grassroots clubs and the elite game

Photo: RFU Archive 

The Home of England Rugby acknowledged its loyal rugby family in a big and little way for England's clash with Italy when the names of the 373 clubs who have signed up for NatWest RugbyForce were written on the stadium steps and, at the other end of the scale, on tiny blades of grass.

The East Stand steps became the backdrop against which England recorded their fourth win in this year’s RBS 6 Nations and the club names were visible to millions of rugby fans on the TV and in the stadium.

Almost 400 clubs were recognised at Twickenham

Photo: RFU Archive

A magnifying glass was required to see the names written on the patch of grass bordering the hallowed turf.  A micro writer spent 30 hours writing the club names on the blades – so small they measured 1mm wide and less than 4cm long.

The display of steps rewarded the clubs who have already signed up for this year’s NatWest RugbyForce programme, while the grass represented the important connection between the grassroots clubs and the elite game.  

Head Goundsman, Keith Kent, said: “I’ve worked here for 10 years and it is the first time I’ve seen anything like this! When I was first approached about writing on the blades of grass I thought it would be impossible. It is a great way of recognising the RugbyForce clubs.”

Barking was one of almost 400 clubs who had their club name written on a blade of grass

Photo: RFU Archive 

176 clubs signed up for NatWest RugbyForce prior to February 15 and had their steps unveiled for the France fixture, but registration numbers almost doubled ahead of the England’s last home game of the Championship.

Sophie Morris from Millwall RFC said: “The England team have the support of all grassroots clubs so it was great to see that represented by the names on the steps in front of them as they ran out. We were always planning to sign up to NatWest RugbyForce, so having our club name honoured at Twickenham for two such big games was an added bonus.“

Members of Millwall RFC visited their step

Photo: RFU Archive

Phil Vickery, former England prop and World Cup winner, is a supporter of the NatWest RugbyForce programme. He met club members by their steps and said: “Coming from a very small club, Bude RFC in Cornwall, I know how important the rugby club is within the local community, and how much support they need. NatWest RugbyForce is all about improving club facilities to help safeguard their future. Seeing the club steps at Twickenham was a reminder of where rugby began for many of our international players – at grassroots clubs.”

The NatWest RugbyForce Weekend takes place on June 15/16 and is an opportunity for clubs to gather members, supporters, family and friends for a weekend of fun-filled DIY – a community-wide effort to give their facilities a makeover.

Online resources are available to all clubs to help them get the most out of their Weekend and to decide which changes and improvements will make the biggest impact over the long term.

Clubs can continue to sign up for the Weekend until June 14 by visiting