Jaco Taute, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Kyran Bungaroo and Thom Smith were guests on a panel discussion at De Montfort University this week to discuss overcoming adversity in sport as part of Black History Season.
The Tigers quartet were among fellow sports stars from the county including Wes Morgan and Youri Tielemans from Leicester City Football Club and Namon Wright from Leicester Riders.
The Tigers players and fellow guests discussed the challenges and barriers they have faced in their careers, as well as answering questions on their own professional journeys and the challenges faced by respective sporting codes on the topic.
The event was hosted by Tigers partner DMU, namely DMU Sport and DMU for Life, as part of the university’s Black History Season, and followed an appearance earlier in the schedule by Liverpool and England football legend John Barnes about racism in sport.
Speaking at the event, Taute said: “Having the right support structure can be life-changing – just a small opportunity can change a life.”
The South Africa international also discussed the relationships formed through sport and doors opened for men and women in learning about their team-mates' journeys in life.
“You end up becoming best friends with someone you never thought you would become friends with,” he said. “The sport has allowed me to learn about other people’s ways of life.”
Taute's team-mate Polota-Nau was strong in his belief that rugby union was a sport for all, saying: “Our sport caters for all shapes and sizes.
"The most important thing is having the right mindset. That’s the beauty of rugby – we all offer different things but we all have to work together.”