Leeds Carnegie stars link up with Harrogate school

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Players from Leeds Carnegie Rugby Union Football Club visited Ashville College in Harrogate to launch a new sporting collaboration between the two institutions.

The partnership is part of the rugby club’s community programme which aims to improve the youngsters’ skills, seek out rising stars and give the players experience in coaching through once-weekly sessions.

Amongst the 14 first-team players from the Leeds club who took part in the inaugural session was scrum half Craig Hampson, a former Ashville College pupil.

The rugby stars also ate lunch in the school dining room alongside the Ashville pupils. After lunch the students took to the school’s New Fields to be coached by both the Carnegie players and the vastly experienced coaching staff from the Headingley club, headed by Adam Blades.

Phil Holmes, Ashville College’s Director of Sport, said: “This new partnership with Leeds Carnegie is an extremely exciting prospect for the school.

“It’s fantastic that these role models are teaching our players and it really does raise the profile of the school.”

“By developing this partnership it also exposes our players to Leeds Carnegie’s talent scouts.”

Leeds Carnegie community coach Adam Blades said: “Ashville is the only Harrogate school we are currently working with and we are looking forward to developing this relationship.

“There are a number of aims to the partnership, and the foremost is to develop the young players’ games. Secondly it gets the Leeds Carnegie name to a wider audience and it also gives players an opportunity to learn how to coach.”

Mr Holmes added: “Rugby has always been a popular sport in the UK, and has seen an even greater level of following since England won the World Cup in 2003.

“Interest and investment in grassroots rugby is key to maintaining not just the next generation of young stars, but our interest in this constantly evolving sport.

“Sport in schools should be about enjoyment and making learning fun. In achieving this the improvements naturally occur and the successes are bound to follow.”