King Edward’s Sheldon Heath Academy in Birmingham have entered the NatWest Schools Cup competition for the first time at Under 15 level, and to celebrate this achievement the Academy was treated to an exclusive training day with England international star, Marland Yarde.
England and Harlequins wing, Yarde, said: “It’s an opportunity to not only play with your mates, but to play in the biggest school competition in the country and against the best young players with the chance of playing at Twickenham.”
KESH Academy were given the opportunity to train with Yarde as well as take part in a question and answer session and get their pictures taken with the NatWest Schools trophy.
Yarde is a successful product of the NatWest Schools Cup after scoring a hat trick for Whitgift School in the final at Twickenham in 2010.
Yarde said: “We all wanted to play at Twickenham and we trained hard throughout the year to make sure we achieved our goal.
“It’s definitely a memory that helps you engage, appreciate and remember amongst your mates because at that time in our lives it was probably the biggest thing we’d ever achieved.”
KESH Academy has only been playing rugby for two years and is part of the RFU’s All Schools programme, supported by principal partner CBRE, which aims to get 750 more state secondary schools playing rugby
Adrian Rowe, captain of the U15s side at KESH Academy, said: “It’s our first time in the competition so it’s exciting because we’ve liked playing rugby tournaments throughout our school years and it’s the first big opportunity we’ve been given.”
There will be 141 new teams in this season’s NatWest Schools Cup, with 883 teams in total competing for the prestigious U15s and U18s NatWest Schools Cup and vase trophies.
Former Birmingham & Solihull flanker Terry Dight, PE Teacher at KESH Academy, said: “Hopefully this will become an annual event that we’re always in, we’ve got our first game which is going to be tough, against another King Edward’s school and I know the PE staff over there so it’s going to be a good event.”
New for this season, the NatWest Schools Cup has launched the Trail to Twickenham – a live video stream that will follow the NatWest Schools Cup journey from start to finish on finals day at Twickenham.