THE international rugby stage is set for Market Rasen’s U9s squad to step onto the hallowed turf at Twickenham this weekend.
Before England face Ireland in a Six Nations clash this Saturday, ten members of the Market Rasen squad will join boys from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for a series of exhibition games in front of Twickenham’s huge crowd – up-to 82,000.
The Market Rasen youngsters will then form the guard of honour as England and Ireland take to the famous Twickenham pitch. The squad also have pitchside seats for the match.
Carl Topper, coach of Market Rasen U9s, said: “This is very, very rarely done.
“There are only three internationals a year at Twickenham so this is very good for Rasen rugby club. The boys are all very excited, it’s a great opportunity and they won’t get another chance like this.
“It has posed some headaches as unfortunately it is only possible for 10 of the squad of 22 and two coaches to go, but we ran a draw for those that wanted to enter. I am sure it will be a memorable experience for those that are going.”
The opportunity to play at Twickenham came about after the Market Rasen squad took part in a pilot initiative run by the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire Rugby Football Union (NLD RFU) to introduce new rules, initially targeted at U7, U8 and U9s.
The new rules are designed to give the youngsters a more phased introduction to contact rugby with a greater focus on tackling and evasion, increased participation and retention of players, and it is these skills the Market Rasen team will be displaying in their big match at Twickenham.
Workshops for next season’s U9 coaches are well underway with coaching support provided at the venues in all three counties by the host clubs’ U9 squads, including those in Market Rasen.
As well as being bused to Twickenham for their big match and stepping foot on the pitch with our nation’s rugby squad, the Market Rasen team will also get a tour of the stadium’s museum and have lunch.
Andrew Osmond, Market Rasen Rugby Club member and chairman of NLD RFU U7-12 Group, said: “I am really pleased that those that are supporting the delivery of this pilot are being rewarded with this experience.
“Change is always difficult to adopt but the response we are receiving across the game at these age groups throughout the region is very positive.”
“The experience comes the day before the NLD U9/10 Finals, which will also be held at Market Rasen. Whilst this is unfortunate, as it will be a long weekend for those involved, I am sure there will be plenty for the teams to remember. I hope that people look out for the girls and boys and that the players have a fantastic time.”