International rugby giants Lawrence Dallaglio and Gethin Jenkins inspired young players of the future during their special visit to Tonypandy Community College.
Through a close association with the acclaimed Dallaglio Foundation and Rhondda Schools Rugby, pupils from Year 10 enjoyed a skills session in the school – and in the glare of the media spotlight as they were surrounded by news cameras from the Welsh media.
Two ex-Rhondda Schools Rugby players – Jack Dunning, aged 20, and Lewis Crabbe, aged 24, are coaches for the Dallaglio foundation in Wales.
They were also joined by Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf Cllr John Watts to the event as he is Jack’s grandfather!
Lawrence Dallaglio said, “The purpose of the Foundation is to help build the confidence of young people, teach them values and discipline and hopefully help them make the right decisions about their education and career.
“Life can be tough for young people and I know from experience that I benefited greatly from the sport. Rugby is just what I needed during my youth when I probably made some bad decisions of my own.
“Clearly the students at Tonypandy are enjoying the experience too. Their fantastic and there’s some great side-stepping and a fair bit of pace amongst them on the field too!”
The Dallaglio Foundation is a charity set up by the former England Rugby World Cup winner who set out to nurture and develop the essential skills of young people in England and Wales.
It is regarded as a flagship social inclusion programme which has a profound effect on the lives of young people by using rugby as a vehicle for re-engaging with them. It helps to increase young people’s worth, help make better life choices and allows them to become more employable.
Joining him in Tonypandy Community College was Cardiff Blues star Gethin Jenkins, who is Wales’ most capped player with 110 appearances for the national side.
Headteacher of Tonypandy Community College Helen O’Sullivan was delighted to welcome the sporting stars to meet the students.
Mrs O’Sullivan explained, “It was such a pleasure to welcome two legends of the game of rugby to Tonypandy Community College and the students have been looking forward to the opportunity for weeks.
“The Dallaglio Foundation is an excellent way of re-engaging with young people and helps teach them the skills that will set them in such good stead when they leave the College by reinforcing the qualities of respect, positivity and self-worth.”