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Young players hone skills at Welford Road

Hundreds of young players followed in the footsteps of their heroes as they took part in a series of Masterclasses on the Welford Road pitch this week.

From attack and decision-making to forward play and the secrets of the scrum, players learned the tricks of the trade across five days of sessions at the home of Leicester Tigers.

Former Tigers players Matt Smith and Craig Newby led sessions on backs play and defence respectively, while Loughborough Lightning and Scotland women’s star Rhona Lloyd led a specific girls’ only session on Friday.

Club legend Ian ‘Dosser’ Smith took charge on both Thursday and Saturday, teaching players from age groups ranging from under-11s to under-18s his tips and tricks for strong forward play.

Young players were also treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the famous Tigers dressing rooms as ‘Dosser’ shared what it truly means to be a Tiger.

“We have a saying here; that the way we live our lives is the way we play the game, and the way we play the game is the way we live our lives, so we’re learning a lot of life skills out here,” he said.

“This gives boys and girls the opportunity to work with some of our senior coaches as well as some of our development coaches to put them through their paces, and be under no illusions; there are some future Tigers players out here.

“It’s all about opportunity and there’s no better place to do it. I remember when I was first here, we rarely got on here as a first-team to train, so to have boys and girls running on the pitch … the old groundsman Derek Limmage would be having apoplexy if he was still alive!”

All participants received a whole host of Tigers goodies, and will return for the opening game of next season to see their heroes do it for real.

The club’s community coaches will be leading more than 50 rugby camps across the country this summer, ranging from tag rugby for under-7s right through to full-day camps for under-9s upwards.

Find out more and book a place on a Tigers rugby camp by using the buttons below.