NORTHAMPTON Saints starlet James Kilburn was bursting with pride after he and his new teammates stormed to victory at Premiership Rugby’s National Urban Rugby Squad Festival at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium.
Bishop Stopford pupil Kilburn, 16, helped the young Saints to hold off competition from all 11 Premiership Rugby Clubs, as well as London Irish, to be crowned champions on the same pitch the Warriors play their home games.
The Urban Rugby Squad is a ground-breaking initiative run by Premiership Rugby and its clubs, helping 1,000 young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England.
In its first year, the scheme helped 778 young people and delivered 136 personal development workshops on topics such as anger management and sexual health.
To read more about the Urban Rugby Squad click here
The Saints’ display of camaraderie, skill and endeavour earned them tickets to watch their heroes at the Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham in May and Kilburn was delighted with his side’s display.
“We have been working together as a team to achieve our goals, which was get to the final and win it. We are playing sport, but also having fun,” Kilburn said.
“We have done a lot of training the past couple of weeks, we have been doing a lot of touch training.
“It has been a good experience, everyone has enjoyed it. It has been hard work and we have all been making sure that we working hard together.”
— Saints Community (@SaintsComm) October 26, 2016
Social Inclusion Officer Jordan Letts was ecstatic after his side came together wonderfully on the day to finish as victors – defeating Wasps two tries to one in the final.
But it was the growth of his side as people over their time with the Urban Rugby Squad that has left him truly happy.
“They have improved so much, some of them have gone from barely even passing the ball to playing at Sixways Stadium,” 23-year old Letts explained.
“I am immensely proud, it is reward for the hard work we have put in and the hard work they have put in.
“To see them win is brilliant, it will boost their confidence no end. Everyone has had a smile on their face and rugby’s core values have been on display all day.
“It is just great to see the core values of rugby instilled in them – it is not just in rugby, but in their everyday lives.
“You can see that they have come and enjoyed it, but if I – or anyone has something to say to them – they will stay and listen. That is something they will take with them.”
The Urban Rugby Squad is a ground-breaking initiative run by Premiership Rugby and its 12 clubs that has already helped 1,000 young people aged 14-16 from disadvantaged communities across England tackle topics such as anger management and sexual health.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) October 26, 2016
For more information about Premiership Rugby’s Urban Rugby Squad, run in partnership with BT Sport’s The Supporters Club, the broadcaster’s initiative that aims to build a better world through sport, and Restart Rugby, the Official Charity of The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA), please visit https://www.premiershiprugby.com/urban-rugby-squad/ and the join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives