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Great day for Aviva Premiership schools

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Schoolchildren enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when they played on the Welford Road pitch before a Leicester Tigers fixture.

Pupils from Leicestershire schools Broomfield Primary in East Goscote and The Pochin School in Barkby were invited to play at the home of Tigers after taking part in the club’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme.

The children have been working with Tigers community coaches to develop their tag rugby skills and their hard work was rewarded when they played at Welford Road before Sunday’s first-team game against London Irish.

Lorraine Jex, of Broomfield Primary School, said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to play at Welford Road. They might never get the opportunity again to play on such an amazing pitch.

“The children absolutely loved it. The whole experience has been amazing for them, not just the playing at Welford Road but the training they have had at school.

“There are a couple of them who have played before but for the majority it is their first experience of rugby and they have loved every minute of it.”

Julia Dodge, a teacher at the Pochin School, added: “It was a fantastic experience, the children really enjoyed it. They were thrilled and so looking forward to it – it was a fantastic opportunity for them.

“About half of the children have been to Welford Road before, but for the rest it was their first time. It is just so fantastic to be in a stadium like this.

“The programme introduces them to a sport they wouldn’t necessarily play at primary school and they have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme is its third season at Tigers.

The scheme aims to introduce more than 39,000 young people each season to rugby through tag, targeting new-to-rugby, non-traditional rugby schools, and provides five weeks of coaching and teacher training, grassroots club links and resources for the school to continue playing rugby in the future.

The programme finishes with a tag rugby festival, which gives the young players a chance to put their new skills into practice.

Tigers rugby development officer Rob Bryant said: “It is great that we have the opportunity to go into schools where rugby is not usually part of the curriculum.

“It gives the children a chance to try something new and there is some huge potential just waiting to be found. The kids all had a fantastic time and many of them have gone on from this course to join local rugby clubs, which is amazing.

“Hopefully they will all go on to become future fans of Leicester Tigers, or maybe even players.”

More information on the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme is by phoning Rob Bryant on 0844 856 1880 or email [email protected]