Prince Harry today joined teachers and student volunteers for a training session to remember at Eccles RFC in Greater Manchester, alongside Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Sarah Hunter.
This was Prince Harry’s second visit in his role as Patron of All Schools, England Rugby’s programme to help more state secondary schools start playing rugby. Launched in September 2012 in partnership with the Rugby Football Foundation, All Schools 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.
Today’s event follows the recent announcements of 2003 World Cup Winner Jonny Wilkinson as an All Schools ambassador and leading commercial property and real estate services advisor CBRE as Principal Partner of All Schools.
During his visit, Prince Harry took part in a training session with teachers from 12 All Schools in the area including St Patricks, St Marys and Fred Longworth. He joined teachers as they learnt how to coach safe and effective scrum and tackle techniques and chatted to them about the impact rugby is having in their schools.
Teacher training is a crucial element of the All Schools programme as it will help ensure that rugby activity is sustainable in a school beyond the initial three year investment from England Rugby.
Prince Harry also worked with 20 student volunteers from St Patrick’s School who’ve been receiving training under the All Schools Young Leaders programme. He chatted to the Young Leaders about the core values of rugby union and about what leadership means to him, before joining them on pitch as they coached younger students from local schools in a rugby festival.
England Women’s Rugby World Cup Winner Sarah Hunter, who was passing on tips and advice to the teachers and young leaders said: “I’ve had a fantastic time here today. Seeing so many teachers, young leaders and students from the area getting involved in rugby and embracing the core values that make the sport so special has been really rewarding. Rugby is relatively new to them all and yet already they are getting so much out of the sport. I think having Prince Harry here as well has been really exciting for them all – it was also great from a personal perspective to meet him today.”
Bill Beaumont, RFU Chairman commented: “It was brilliant to see Prince Harry getting stuck into the action with the teacher training session and chatting to the Young Leaders about what rugby means to him. Judging by the reactions all round, I think everyone has had a really memorable experience and one that I hope will encourage them to carry on enjoying rugby. Prince Harry is really passionate about the game and that certainly came through today.”
The state secondary schools in the All Schools programme have been identified in small clusters, allowing them to play rugby against each other locally. All Schools is one of the seven areas identified by England Rugby to deliver the greatest participation legacy for the game in the lead up to next year’s world cup and beyond.
All Schools will cost £10 million to implement, with the money to be raised through RFU investment, Sponsorship and Fundraising. The RFU have made an initial commitment of £2million and put a fundraising campaign in action.
All Schools is generously supported by Canterbury as an Official Partner who deliver bespoke kit design workshops for every school in the programme. We are very grateful for their support as to that of Gilbert, OPRO, Comic Relief and ICAP.
A keen sportsman and rugby fan, Prince Harry is also Vice Patron of the RFU and Patron of the RFU Injured Players Foundation.
For more information about All Schools visit www.englandrugby.com/allschools