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Community work as important as winning trophies

Community work as important as winning trophies

A glut of domestic and European silverware have given Saracens enough to celebrate on the field, but what happens off the pitch is every bit as important to the club’s hierarchy.

That’s a view echoed by academy graduate and England Under 20 international Ali Crossdale, whose star continues to rise and first-team action surely awaits for the back.

The newly-revamped Premiership Rugby Shield offers a platform for the likes of Crossdale to showcase their talent in the second string side Saracens Storm.

Just as Crossdale makes his own baby steps in professional rugby, Saracens are investing in the wider education and development of a host of youngsters in their Barnet catchment area.

Last week the club became the first sports team in the UK to launch a stand-alone secondary school as Saracens High School opened its doors in Colindale.

Crossdale, 20, might be in new surroundings but has already had the importance of the club’s outreach work drummed into him.

“I think the success of Saracens as a trophy-winning dynasty helps inspire local kids,” said Crossdale, speaking at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup at nearby Hendon RUFC.

“A massive part of Saracens is the off-field work.

“With the opening of the school being announced, events like the Premiership Rugby Cup only add to that.

“It plays a very important role as the leading club in North London and inspires the kids to follow a journey and maybe one day play for them, which is the ultimate aim.”

The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, a nationwide series of events now running for more than a decade, has seen more than 82,000 children take part to date and continues to grow.

Participating players had the opportunity to meet young stars Crossdale and prop Ralph Adams-Hale, who took time out of their schedule to watch the young teams.

They were also on hand to offer coaching tips along the way, signing autographs and taking selfies with countless aspiring young players.

And Crossdale commented on the importance of grassroots rugby, saying: “I played in numerous Land Rover tournaments when I was younger and they’re always great days.

“It’s great to see the kids enjoying themselves – they’re competitive but most of them just want to have a good time and the chance to play right next to Allianz Park is inspiring.

“It’s essential grassroots rugby continues to get support and tournaments like the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup are a crucial part of that.”

Land Rover has heritage in rugby at all levels; from grassroots to elite, sharing and understanding the values at the heart of the game. Follow @LandRoverRugby

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