HEREFORD'S Harry Dunne has had a chance to share a rugby pitch with England internationals Billy Twelvetrees and Alex Goode.
As part of the energy company SSE’s ongoing sponsorship of grassroots rugby, Goode and Twelvetrees led a coaching session and then a touch rugby match with Southwark RFC on an urban wasteland in London’s east end.
Dunne, 22, formerly of Clehonger Primary School, plays for Southwark – the only inner city rugby team in London – every weekend at flanker.
And rubbing shoulders with England’s greats has given Dunne and co a much-needed boost for the second half of their season.
“This is a great experience to come down and play with these guys,” he said.
“To see how they work, there is so much we can learn from them in terms of training and technical skills.
“It’s great for community rugby down here in Southwark.
“I have never played on a pitch quite like this one but it’s been fantastic fun.
“It’s not all the time that you get to play touch rugby with two England internationals and it has been fantastic to spend a bit of time with them and pick their brains.
“Hopefully this can be a big help for the team, we are challenging for back-to-back promotions.
“We are the only club that play in inner-city London which is fantastic and makes it easier for the boys to come down.
“Helping out the community rugby clubs is fantastic in that sense, anything that can help training and the boys is great so the floodlights are perfect in that sense.
“It’s great for the future as well, we have got youngsters coming through as well and we want to build the club.”
SSE this month launched the Floodlight Reward Scheme, a competition that gives English rugby clubs the opportunity to a win a portable floodlight worth £10,000.
And Twelvetrees, who rose through the ranks at his local team Bedford to become a key cog in England’s midfield, gave his backing to a scheme that helps to promote the grassroots of the game.
“The SSE floodlight reward scheme is massively important for any local rugby club,” he said.
“Anything that gives more traction to the game, that gets more people playing is huge and floodlights are fantastic in that sense.
“It means people can play and practice at all times of the day and in the inner city as well which is great.
“Any person that has played rugby, including me, has come through grassroots and their local club and they lack a bit of funding.
“Any facilities they can get only makes it better for the individuals and the teams and is great for rugby as a whole.”
PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR – Billy Twelvetrees was speaking on behalf of Official Community Partner of the RFU, SSE, who is giving English rugby clubs the opportunity to win a £10,000 portable floodlight. To enter go to www.SSERugby.com