This time last year, Edson Quadros had never even picked up a rugby ball – but on Saturday 1 June he will walk out at Twickenham Stadium at the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final.
Quadros and some of his fellow students from Leyton Sixth Form College will get the opportunity not only to be at the Final, but to play on the pitch thanks to Project Rugby.
A joint initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby, the scheme has teamed up with clubs all over the country to reach people from traditionally underrepresented groups to get them involved and challenge the existing perceptions surrounding the sport.
Now as the rugby season reaches its climax, a cluster of schools will have the opportunity to take their students along for the full Twickenham experience.
Leyton Sixth Form College in Waltham Forest has partnered with Premiership side, Saracens and Quadros is just one participant who is making the most of the opportunity.
The 18-year-old had never been involved with the sport before Project Rugby reached out to him and now he is relishing the opportunity to immerse himself in something he enjoys.
“After agreeing to go along to a session the first time I really took to it and from there I went and played all the time,” he said.
“It was great because Woodford Rugby Club, which is where the sessions are held, is just a short walk from where I live so it is perfect for me.
“I don’t really play any other sports but I have always enjoyed them and I keep fit but this has filled a gap in my life which is really cool.
“It is a nice outlet and it also helps with things like leadership and life outside of school – it is just a lot of fun really so I am so pleased that I got involved.
“I think Project Rugby is beautiful really because they are getting people involved in the sport and it is just nice the way they go about things.
“Going to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final will be an experience and it is great – there will be so much to learn from watching the players.”
Project Rugby is not just geared towards getting people involved by playing rugby, but also aims to encourage people to take part in other activities such as festivals, coaching and visiting Premiership clubs.
“A few months ago we got to go to Allianz Park and met the Kpoku brothers which was amazing to hear about their journey and their path to play for Saracens,” he added.
“They are young guys and really easy to relate to so that was really cool and we learned some history about the club too.”
Since Project Rugby’s launch in 2017, which is run in partnership with Gallagher, 25,000 14-24 year olds have taken part, helping to increase participation in the game.