Northampton Saints might be pushing hard to claim some silverware come the end of the season, but one youngster involved with the club has already claimed a prestigious prize following the star-studded HITZ Awards.
HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme, which works with over 2,000 disadvantaged 14-19 year-olds across England every year.
And on Tuesday evening the hard work put in by countless individuals up and down the country was celebrated at the 2017 HITZ Awards, a glittering London ceremony at the BT Centre.
There were five winners on the night with Milton Kachecha of the Northampton Saints HITZ programme walking away with the HITZ Best Rugby Performer award, supported by Land Rover, as well as a brand new watch from Premiership Rugby partner Citizen.
Milton collected his prize from World Cup winner Jason Robinson and admitted the evening would live long in his memory.
— Land Rover UK PR (@LandRoverUKPR) November 21, 2017
“It was amazing when my name was called out and it was great to be on stage discussing my experience of the HITZ programme – I really enjoyed the evening,” said Milton, who beat Exeter Chiefs’ Callum Currey and Taylor Griffiths of Harlequins to the gong.
“The HITZ programme has given me motivation to want to do more and work harder and now I see a future for me in rugby.
“They’re looking at me for East Midlands Academy so it’s really good at the moment for me rugby-wise and it’s all thanks to HITZ really.”
The HITZ Best Rugby Performer award, supported by Land Rover, recognises a young person whose progress in the sport of rugby – on and off the pitch – has helped them overcome a range of challenges and progress back into education, training or employment.
And Milton has certainly done that, having initially struggled in school after arriving from his home country of Zimbabwe.
He was quick to turn to anger due to his confidence being knocked while struggling academically, but Milton brought his love of rugby over to England and helped his colts team at Old Northamptonians win the Alliance Cup at Franklin’s Gardens.
But rugby gave Milton much more than just joy on the pitch as it boosted his confidence and helped him turn his life around and get back on track, with him now understanding that he needs to work hard to achieve his dreams in rugby and academically.
The @HITZRugby Awards roll on!
— HITZ (@HITZRugby) November 21, 2017
Scott Dicken, Marketing Director at Land Rover UK, added: “Recognising and rewarding the success of youngsters such as Milton is an important part of the HITZ process. These individuals are working hard to improve and develop themselves, and as a long standing supporter of the programme, Land Rover is proud to acknowledge these efforts.
“Milton has shown how rugby can be a truly positive motivator in helping overcome personal challenges. In his case, equipping him with the tools and focus to tackle educational difficulties.
“Through rugby and HITZ, Milton has identified a passion and has a dream to play professional rugby. This highlights the value of the HITZ programme and hopefully his award spurs him on to pursue his ambitions.”
The HITZ programme, delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon, uses rugby’s strong core values to improve life and employability skills for disadvantaged young people, underpinning success in education, life and work. See @HITZrugby for more information.