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Lions roar into rugby action


Oct 17, 2018

TALENTED young rugby players roared into action as they took their Lions squad on tour.

The crème de la crème of players from the Emmanuel Schools Foundation headed to Cumbria for a three match tour against some of the best players in the Lake District.

A squad of 24 Year 11 players was selected from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Bede Academy, Blyth, The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham and Trinity Academy, Thorne, near Doncaster.

The boys played competitive sides from Egremont RUFC, Keswick School and Penrith RUFC coming away with three great results.

Against Egremont, in difficult weather condition, the 27-17 defeat failed to reflect the close nature of the match.

A 24-12 win against Keswick School saw both sides equip themselves well and exhibit some highly entertaining rugby as did the 21-12 win against Penrith.

Tour manager David Greenshields said: “We have received some fantastic hospitality and while the competition on the pitch was fierce our boys have forged some very close friendships with their opponents through a common love of rugby.”

Tour coach Alun Barlow said: “The lads played exceptionally well and came away with a fine set of results. I was amazed how quickly they came together as a squad given they do not get the opportunity to play together that much. I think they will take their improved skills back to their own schools now and inspire rugby across the foundation.”

The tour also saw the boys taking part in dragon boat racing, ten-pin bowling and ghyll scrambling, as well as invaluable coaching and training sessions every day.

Emmanuel College, who were NatWest Bowl semi-finalists last year, provided the squad with 13 team members including Newcastle Falcons Academy players, Lions captain Tyler Hepple, Thabo Dube and Evan Lawther, all 15.

Tyler said: “It has been very physical – I sustained a back injury in the first match – but we have played well, electric in parts. Everyone has loved the tour, playing and meeting new teams and players and it has definitely moulded us into better players. I think it has helped shape our characters and come back better people.

“The first match was gruelling because of the weather but we learnt a lot about resilience and played some good rugby. It has been absolutely amazing and I feel my rugby has improved by joining the tour.

“We do get used to playing the same sides and this really challenged us by pushing us out of our comfort zones. It was tough to get into the Lions squad and I feel proud to have taken part. We have all bonded on the tour and made some great friends from the other teams. I am sure I will remember this experience for many years to come.”

By French