- Prince Harry leads Twickenham coaching session as part of his All Schools role
- Visit www.rfu.com/allschools to find out more about All Schools
Prince Harry today gave students from across England a rugby coaching session they are unlikely to forget in a hurry at Twickenham Stadium, alongside Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson OBE.
This was Prince Harry’s first visit in his new role as Patron of All Schools, the Rugby Football Union’s programme set up to help more secondary state schools start playing rugby. The students were from schools in their second year of the programme, travelling from as far as Tyne & Wear and Hull for the experience.
All Schools promotes the idea that rugby union is a game for All Schools – everyone can play it and every school can teach it. It forms one of the RFU’s major legacy strands for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to deliver the greatest participatory boost for all levels of the game.
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In partnership with the Rugby Football Foundation, it supports state secondary schools over three years to help them start and sustain playing rugby union, with kit and equipment, coaching, young leaders training and links to a local club.
Prince Harry refreshed his coaching skills from his previous experience with the RFU’s regional team nearly 10 years ago, as he joined 50 students on the pitch. He chatted to students taking part in the programme about the impact rugby is having on them both on and off the pitch, as well as teachers and the RFU’s regional staff responsible for delivering All Schools at a local level.
Former England captain, Jason Robinson, who passed on tips and advice to the young players, said: “It’s great to see so many students from up and down the country taking up the game and embracing the core values that make the sport so special. They have only been playing rugby union for just over a year and I’m sure that having the opportunity to meet Prince Harry and play on the famous pitch at Twickenham will inspire them to keep playing for many years to come.”
Over 50 students from schools in the South East were also taking part in a kit design workshop at the stadium run by Canterbury, Official Partner to All Schools, when Prince Harry paid them a surprise visit.
Photo: Getty Images
Each school taking part in the programme attends a workshop to design their own team rugby shirt. The session explores what rugby means to them, whilst teaching pupils about the core values of the game, the pride associated with the England shirt and the importance of colours, logos and emblems.
Canterbury then turns these drawings into final bespoke designs to be proudly worn by the school’s rugby team on the pitch. To date 100 schools have received their own uniquely designed team shirts, and an additional 100 schools will benefit from the workshops initiative in 2014.
Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive, RFU, commented: “It was fantastic to see Prince Harry getting stuck into the action on the pitch with the students and chatting to pupils as they designed their shirts. Judging by their reaction they all had a truly memorable experience and one I hope will encourage them to continue enjoying rugby. You can see that his love for the game shined through, which clearly rubbed off on the players.”
All Schools will cost £10million to implement, with the money to be raised through RFU investment, sponsorship and fundraising. The RFU have made an initial commitment of £2million and a fundraising campaign has been launched.
A keen sportsman and rugby fan, Prince Harry is also Vice Patron of the RFU and Patron of the RFU Injured Players Foundation.
The five schools taking part in the coaching session were Oakbank School in Yorkshire, Oxclose Community School in Tyne & Wear, Kelvin Hall School in Hull, Rokeby School in Newham, and Stonehill School in Leicester.
For more information about All Schools, visit www.rfu.com/allschools.