Forest Academy pupils enjoy a day out at Twickenham

Forest Academy pupils at Twickenham (Pic: Sportsbeat)

Forest Academy pupils at Twickenham (Pic: Sportsbeat) - Credit: Archant

Pupils from The Forest Academy in Hainault enjoyed a day to remember at Twickenham on Saturday as they paraded as flagbearers on the pitch ahead of England’s NatWest 6 Nations clash with Wales.

The opportunity was afforded to them thanks to their involvement in the CBRE All Schools programme this season.

Launched in 2012, the initiative has been developed by the RFU to increase the amount of rugby played in schools, encourage new players to join local clubs and create a positive legacy through the sport and its core values.

Last autumn representatives from the RFU’s official partner Canterbury conducted kit-design workshops around the country, one of which was attended by The Forest Academy.

The bespoke kit designed by the pupils will be delivered to the school in the coming weeks for the teams to play in for the rest of the season and years to come.

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Stepping out onto the hallowed turf of Rugby HQ with a packed Twickenham crowd watching on, Eve Lewthwaite, 14 from The Forest Academy said it was a day she will not forget in a hurry.

“My favourite player is either Mike Brown or Owen Farrell, I find them really good players and they always bring it,” she said.

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“It means a lot to be at something so good today and it can get me somewhere.

“I’m most looking forward to watching the game, it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere.

“I think meeting the players here today will be a good lesson in being dedicated.

“I haven’t played rugby but my brothers do, I’ve watched them play and been to games before, including England vs Wales and England vs the Barbarians.”

“Rugby is very different to other sports, it has more dedication and it’s better than football.

“What I’ll take from it is how different sports impact people in different surroundings.”

The Forest Academy were one of 80 to make the trip to South West London having been a part of the CBRE All Schools programme this season.

The initiative aims to take rugby into 750 state secondary schools by 2019 and ahead of the match pupils were treated to a lunch and photoshoot with England internationals Ellis Genge and Harriet Millar-Mills, as well as being given new Canterbury kit to wear as flagbearers.

Ahead of Saturday’s 12-6 win for England, Genge gave a talk to the visiting schools about what rugby has done for their life and how the sport’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship can apply to many real-life situations – not just on the rugby field.

“When I was younger we didn’t go too far but some of these schools have travelled from all over the country to come down here, so it’s a great day all round,” said Genge.

“It’s great to see all of the young rugby players from around the country coming together as one.

“Some of these kids would never have had the chance to come to Twickenham so it’s a wonderful opportunity in that respect and they all seemed to make the most of it.”

CBRE All Schools supported by Canterbury is one of the RFU’s key legacy programmes, set up to increase the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union in England.

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