Junior girls rugby players from across the region got a taste of life as a Northampton Saint last week, as they descended on Franklin’s Gardens for the Redrow Homes Girls 7s Experience Day.
Schools from across Northamptonshire and the East Midlands region were invited to Franklin’s Gardens for a day of coaching, 7s matches, and to get an insight into life as a professional rugby player.
Training just one pitch over from Northampton’s first-team squad, the starlets got to see Saints’ preseason preparations first-hand and meet several players – including England captain Dylan Hartley.
And Mike Porteous, PE teacher and rugby coach at the Royal Latin School, believes the opportunity was invaluable for his young players.
“We’ve always had a great uptake with girls rugby – over 40 turn up every week during the season – but to come into the Club and be a part of this has left the girls really inspired,” he said.
“We’re so lucky that we’ve been able to train on the pitch next to the first team. The girls are looking at them and seeing them as role models.Mike Porteous, Royal Latin School
“We’re having a bit debate about nutrition at school at the moment and the proof is there for them to see here about the importance of eating healthily as part of their training. It has really helped with their camaraderie too and brought them together as a team.”
Sir Thomas Fremantle School PE Teacher, Zoe Cole, agreed saying: “Today was really beneficial for the girls, and being able to stop and see some the international players here at Saints really encouraged them.
“They’re asking more questions about professional sport now and just knowing that rugby is out there for them and being able to train with the Saints is a really, really positive thing.”
“Having the backing of Redrow Homes has made this possible – we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with them and continuing this event."Connor Fleming, Saints' Head of Community
The girls groups enjoyed a joint training session with Saints’ community coaches, before undertaking a tour of the Franklin’s Gardens stadium, meeting some of the Northampton senior squad, and playing a series of 7s matches to finish.
John Mann, managing director for Redrow Homes (South Midlands), said: “We pride ourselves on creating thriving communities, which is why we’ve partnered with Northampton Saints to support children in local schools through the Redrow Sevens Series.
“The partnership has helped us to enrich the experiences of the youth in the area, offering them the chance to play on a professional pitch and hopefully inspiring sports enthusiasts of tomorrow.
“We’re committed to continuing the relationship with Northampton Saints in the future and look forward to the upcoming season.”
Saints head of community Connor Fleming added: “It’s been great to have the girls on site, training alongside the first team and getting inspired to keep playing rugby.
“Having the backing of Redrow Homes has made this possible – we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with them and continuing this event in the future.”
Tickets are still available for the Premiership Rugby 7s on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th July at Franklin's Gardens. Please CLICK HERE to book now.