TOP BAR - Fixtures

Saracens’ Biyi Alo applauds Rugby4All

By his own admission, Biyi Alo was forced to play rugby due to the school he attended but the Saracens prop wished schemes like Premiership Rugby’s Rugby4All programme were around when he was growing up, as he would have taken up the sport earlier.

Alo made his Aviva Premiership Rugby debut last season and was an integral part of the Sarries team which won the LV=Cup and the Aviva 'A' League.

But the 21-year-old's future could have been very different had he not attended Queen Elizabeth's School in Barnet.

The tighthead prop explained: "I became involved with rugby when I went to secondary school because at Queens Elizabeth's School they don't really play much else apart from rugby in the winter and cricket in the summer, like a lot of grammar schools. So I sort of had to play rugby but I was fortunate that I was good at it from the age of 12 and when I was 14 or 15 I was put into the county squad and Saracens saw me playing for Hertfordshire and that was how I ended up here.

"I didn't play Sunday or Saturday rugby until I started to take the sport more seriously in my late teens.

"Queen Elizabeth's were a good team at the time. We had one-and-a-half undefeated seasons and I loved it. I played with a good group of boys and I still speak to a few of them now.

"Schemes like Rugby4All are amazing because if I had known from a young age how much fun rugby was and how anybody could play it then I would have played it even younger.

"It is an interesting sport because you get people from all sorts of backgrounds playing it, and all different shapes and sizes. Anybody can play – old and young.”

Rugby4All is Premiership Rugby's innovative programme which is backed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and run in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The aim is to increase the number of women and girls involved in the sport, to provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups.

Alo was joined by his Saracens' team-mate Nathan Earle, Harlequins' Joe Marchant and England women's Rachael Burford at a Rugby4All event in Trafalgar Square last Wednesday and he was impressed by what he saw.

Alo, who is currently on dual registration with Bedford Blues as he looks to secure more game time, said: "It is great to see all these kids running around playing rugby in Trafalgar Square when I didn't even know what rugby was when I was their age. Rugby4All is a great cause.

"This is a great setting to play rugby and a really good day out. There are lots of people here and it is a great way to introduce youngsters to rugby.”

The event in Trafalgar Square is part of a four-day event hosted by the RFU to showcase a number of its programmes encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in rugby.

The event, supported by the Mayor of London, forms part of the RFU's legacy strategy to grow the game in this country.

For more information about the Rugby4All programme including how to get involved, please visit premiershiprugby.com/rugby4all

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