Three members of Leicester Tigers’ HITZ programme travelled to Twickenham last weekend for an action-packed day topped off with the Gallagher Premiership final.
Ellis Bacon, Mitchell Bailey and Jack Hawker were all selected to participate in Saturday’s activities by Tigers’ community coaches as reward for their willingness to engage in the award-winning education and employability scheme throughout the season.
They took the chance to walk out at Twickenham Stadium ahead of the Premiership Rugby showpiece, after teaming up with learners from England’s 12 other professional clubs to take part in a number of team-building exercises with the Royal Navy.
The trio were also served up an inspirational talk from ex-Royal Marine Paul Vice, who spoke about how his life changed after being caught in an explosion in Afghanistan back in 2011 before shifting his focus to sport, where he has since taken Invictus Games medals in both cycling and archery.
Charlie Hurley is a community coach at Tigers and leads the club’s HITZ programme, and accompanied the three teenagers for the big day.
“This is a great opportunity to reward the guys for their hard work throughout the year,” he said.
“The guys were able to take part in team-building activities with the Royal Navy as well as listen to an inspirational talk before watching the game, and not only is it a great opportunity for the guys to experience Twickenham and the Premiership Final, they also get the chance to meet and work with students from the other HITZ clubs across the country, which is a really important aspect of their development.
“Overall, the guys represented Tigers in the best possible light and thoroughly enjoyed the day out.”
HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which works with over 2,000 14- to 18-year-olds across England every year.
Learners taking part in the programme, which is funded by partners Land Rover, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon, use rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to get back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment, and is delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs.
Two other groups of young players also travelled to Twickenham to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in rugby thanks to Tigers’ community programmes.
A group of girls from Fullhurst Community College headed to Kneller Hall ahead of the big game for a rugby festival celebrating the work of the Move Like A Pro programme, before taking to the Twickenham turf for a half-time touch rugby demonstration.
And pupils from Braunstone Community Primary took part in their own touch rugby game ahead of kick off as part of Premiership Rugby’s Tackling Health Project.
To find out more about Leicester Tigers’ community initiatives, as well as how you can get involved, visit the link below.