Learning Disability squad enjoy London trip

Monday 17 June 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

As a part of the Project Rugby programme, the Newcastle Rugby Foundation’s Learning Disability (LD) team had the opportunity to participate in the Project Rugby Festival at the Twickenham Stoop Stadium, home of Harlequins Rugby.

Eight members of our LD team travelled to London on Friday afternoon to take part in the festival on Saturday morning, where they played touch-rugby fixtures against Bath, Leicester, Gloucester, and Bristol.

The team, along with coaches Stephen and Simon, as well as Joe’s little brother, Peter, showed excellent rugby skills in the spirit of fun and enjoyment. Each opposing team presented new challenges with varying speed, defence, and ball-handling skills. The players continued to work together and support each other, showcasing fantastic teamwork.

Notable moments included Grant scoring two tries against Leicester, Henry and Jake’s exceptional defensive play against Bath, Joe and Nathan’s support running against Bristol, and overall team play against Gloucester.

After the festival, the teams headed to the Rugby HQ, Twickenham Stadium, meeting two former familiar faces, Michael Young and Dean Richards, who had completed their Paris to London bike ride.

The group then enjoyed the first half of the highly competitive Premiership final between Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints in the sunshine. At half-time, the team took to main pitch to play a fixture against the Leicester team, again displaying great sportsmanship.

Some of the team’s parents joined us on the pitch for the half-time game and have given us great feedback on the weekend:

  • “What a fabulous weekend, the work the team at the Newcastle Rugby Foundation put in is just fantastic, to provide opportunities for our young people who wouldn’t have had the opportunity without this group.”
  • “To go to Twickenham was on my bucket list, I’ve always dreamed it would be to see England play but to see Nathan play on the Twickenham pitch way surpassed seeing the England Team it brought tears to my eyes”.
  • “I have not seen that much excitement for a halftime game, it was such a special and unique experience, a memory that will last us all forever”
  • “It was a brilliant weekend; Henry loved every minute of it and is now looking forward to next year”

Community Development officer Stephen Parsons said: “It was a fantastic way to finish the LD season and play in the festival against the fantastic clubs from across the country and see all the players smiling and enjoying Rugby and being included.

“The memories and experience of being able to stand on the pitch at Twickenham in front of 81,000 people is something not many people get to experience, and our players can say they did it!”.

Training sessions take place on Monday evenings at Kingston Park from 5:30 – 6:30 for all participants with a Learning disability/impairment. For more information contact Stephen.Parsons@newcastle-falcons.co.uk.