London Irish make a big impression on Reading Rugby Club at surprise training session

London Irish make a big impression on Reading Rugby Club at surprise training session

The fifth team to win the Aviva Grassroots Giveaway was Reading Rugby Club. Reading RFC is right at the heart of the local community in Reading and has a team for everyone: from men’s to women’s; vets to juniors; and all the way to walking rugby. They’re even looking at setting up their very own wheelchair rugby side.

The surprise

Once we arrived, we met Colin Stonehouse, the winner of the Grassroots Giveaway competition and coach of the U15s to give him the good news and explain what the young players could look forward to later that evening.

Once the U15s had arrived and began to warm up, we got ready to head over to the pitch to join the training session. As we prepared to go out, Colin called the players into a huddle and introduced them to Alex, the community coach from London Irish, who revealed that the club had won Aviva’s Grassroots Giveaway competition and as part of the prize, he would lead the evening’s training session.

But that wasn’t all. Before the training session got underway, Alex asked the U15s whether he could call upon the help of a couple of his friends from London Irish. Then, from behind the group of excited young players came London Irish’s Joe Cokanasiga, Luke McLean and Teofilo Paulo, ready to get stuck in with the session and make the whole experience even more special.

Susesh’s first training session

Whilst the U15s were enjoying their training session I met Susesh, who was attending his very first training session with Reading, encouraged to go by his friends who he plays rugby with at school.

As it turned out, Susesh couldn’t have picked a better evening to go to his first training session and couldn’t believe it when he found out he was lining up alongside some of the stars of the Premiership.

Afterwards, I caught up with him and asked him what he thought of his first training session. He replied, “it was great, I got along with all of my teammates straight away and I got to train with some professional rugby players.”

One thing that did surprise Susesh, however, was just how big the players were! But when we asked whether he’ll be coming back to the club, he replied “definitely”!

Find out more about Reading Rugby Club here.

After the event I also caught up with the walking rugby team at Reading Rugby Club, so keep an eye out for an insight into the world of walking rugby, coming soon. 

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