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Rugby giants support school competition

25 October 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Irish squad members gave time to encourage Preston youngsters 

Pic: Irish prop forward Brett White being tackled by year 7 pupils from Archbishop Temple, Broughton Business and Enterprise College and Longridge High School.  

A host of international rugby players were the star guests at a sporting tournament for local youngsters.

Five members of the Irish Rugby League World Cup squad attended the University of Central Lancashire Sports Arena (USA) on Wednesday to watch a Preston Schools’ Tag Rugby competition.

Year 7 children from Archbishop Temple, Broughton Business and Enterprise College and Longridge High School put their rugby league skills to the test in a variety of six-a-side matches while the players watched on from the side lines.

The players later posed for photographs and signed autographs, passed on a few words of advice and handed out goody bags to all the participants. They also presented a trophy to the winning team from Longridge High School.

“I’m hoping this win, along with seeing the players and watching the upcoming World Cup, will spur the children on to want to play more rugby league in the future.”

Phil Baines, a PE teacher at Longridge High School, said: “They performed so well and I feel very proud of them for winning this competition. I only started with eight players at the beginning of the week in practise but that soon rose to 40 as word spread how good the game was.

“I’m hoping this win, along with seeing the players and watching the upcoming World Cup, will spur the children on to want to play more rugby league in the future.”

The Irish squad have used USA as their training base for the international tournament which kicks-off on Saturday.

As part of their stay in Preston the Irish coaching staff have taken part in a Q and A session with rugby league coaches from across the county as well as offered advice to UCLan’s rugby league team.