- Laura Wright outlines pride in All Schools programme
- 100 pupils to join in the anthem prior to England-Wales clash
As 82,000 fans stand silent and the teams line up before the RBS 6 Nations clash kicks off on Sunday, 100 secondary state school students from across England will take a deep breath as they prepare to perform the National Anthem alongside Laura Wright, England Rugby’s official anthem singer.
The pyrotechnics will have already illuminated their distinctive rugby shirts which they have personally designed at a Canterbury kit design workshop as part of All Schools, England Rugby’s programme to help more secondary state school students play rugby.
Photo: RFU Archive
As Official Partner, Canterbury, the official kit supplier to England Rugby, runs the workshops for each school to get pupils interested in, and actively involved in, rugby for their school. They use their school colours, emblems and mottos to inspire their drawings, before the kit manufacturer produces the final shirts that are worn with pride by the school’s new rugby team – shirts which see their debut appearance on Twickenham’s hallowed turf.
As a passionate ambassador for All Schools, Laura attended one of the workshops to meet the students aged between 12 and 18 years and designed her own rugby shirt that she will also be wearing on Sunday.
Laura said: “It’s always a special moment when I sing at Twickenham, but this week will be unforgettable. My personalised Canterbury shirt is completely white with a red rose to represent England, musical notes from the opening of the National Anthem on one sleeve, and the name of my rugby team hidden at the bottom.
“All Schools gives children, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, the chance to play rugby. Pulling on a shirt knowing they’ve designed it will give them a real boost on the pitch.”
Photo: Rfu Archive
Choral director Simon Lole will be on hand to lead the morning’s rehearsal as one student from each of the 100 schools that joined the programme in September last year meet each other for the first time and prepare to sing in front of 82,000 supporters.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, added: “The anthem is a powerful force of unity and on a match day is crucial in building support from the crowd to get behind the team before kick-off.
“Having created a shirt myself at one of the Canterbury workshops, where the students were also learning about the game’s core values, I’m looking forward to seeing the huge variety of designs on show on Sunday.”
All Schools, of which Prince Harry is Patron, was set up by the Rugby Football Union in partnership with the Rugby Football Foundation to get 750 new state secondary schools playing rugby by 2019 and to encourage new players to join local clubs.
Schools that are new to rugby are supported over three years, with kit and equipment, as well as coaching and young leaders training. Over 200 schools are already participating in the programme.