An Alec Hunter Academy pupil was one of six lucky youngsters to walk on the hallowed turf of Twickenham in the buildup to the England v Wales match on Sunday.
Ben Cakebread, 14, was at Twickenham to celebrate Alec Hunter graduating from the CBRE All Schools rugby programme and was chosen to go pitch-side just moments before kick-off and rub shoulders with the England and Wales players.
Each student was selected for their personal commitment and involvement in rugby and to celebrate the success of their individual school as part of CBRE All Schools.
Before heading to the pitch Ben also had the opportunity to meet injured England wing Jonny May and admitted he was nervous before his big moment.
“I was really excited to be here at Twickenham, my teacher told me and it was a bit of a shock – I was very nervous before we went on the pitch,” he said.
“I got involved in the CBRE All Schools programme by playing games at school, I’d played before but the programme made it easier.
“It was really good to meet Jonny May, it was interesting to hear how England train.
“Rugby has offered me loads, getting away from school, I enjoy it a lot.”
CBRE All Schools, a programme run by England Rugby which was celebrating 100 of it’s 400 participating schools, graduating from the programme at the match, gave Ben and the other five selected children the opportunity to welcome the teams and sing the national anthem before the game.
The youngsters were chosen from 100 of the graduating schools that have completed a three-year bespoke delivery programme run by England Rugby.
Over three years the programme has enabled Alec Hunter and hundreds of other schools to transition from hands-on support to now running a self-sustained program of rugby.
Since its launch in 2012, the programme has become one of the most successful legacy programmes of the Rugby World Cup 2015.
The scheme has introduced the sport to 400 state secondary schools and more than 130,000 pupils that had never before had the opportunity to play rugby.
It is now on target to have 750 schools and 1 million children participating in the programme by the Rugby World Cup 2019, and Gloucester and England’s May was more than happy to throw his support behind the programme.
“Programmes like the CBRE All Schools programme would have been so beneficial at schools when I was younger,” May said.
“For the kids who don’t have parents who push them into rugby, or who don’t know as much about rugby, then a programme like this at your school can give you the opportunity to play something which you didn’t know was out there, and chances are you may end up enjoying it or being really good at it.
“That’s what’s been so great, hearing kids who said they wouldn’t have played had it not been for the CBRE All Schools programme, who are really enjoying it and say they want to keep going with it.“
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