England scrum-half delights rugby-playing schoolgirls

Leanne Riley with the Midhurst Rother College pupils
Leanne Riley with the Midhurst Rother College pupils

One of the hottest days of the year saw Red Roses scrum half Leanne Riley run an introductory rugby session with a group of Midhurst Rother College girls.

The session was to introduce the girls to rugby and raise awareness of the game within the school.

We are delighted to have hosted Leanne in college with us to work with some of our girls. This was a fantastic opportunity for them and it is clear that the girls took a lot away from the day.

Girls from primarily Years 8 and 9, who have shown skills at other sports such as netball and hockey, were invited to participate, so there was a wide range involved, right from those with little or knowledge to those who have been playing for many years.

The session started with a game known as rugby netball. By utilising a game that the girls are very familiar with and adapting the rules, the girls were rapidly developing their rugby passes. 

The skills were clearly evident with very few dropped balls. The games progressed quickly and very soon the girls were playing a full game of rugby, albeit without the contact.

The girls were very keen to rectify this, so following a suitable warm-up, the games progressed to a more physical game. The intensity of the contact as well as the volume of the players increased as it was quite clear that the enjoyment of the physical elements of rugby were being appreciated.

It was an enormous pleasure and privilege for the girls to have a current England player have the time to come and help introduce them to rugby.

The principal of Midhurst Rother College, Stuart Edwards, said: “We are delighted to have hosted Leanne in college with us to work with some of our girls. This was a fantastic opportunity for them and it is clear that the girls took a lot away from the day.

“The college will focus heavily on rugby next year and will introduce a ‘rugby academy’ to produce teams to compete against other schools and colleges.

“I am also very grateful to Dr Craig Inche for his drive to make this happen. We are looking forward to seeing more rugby matches at MRC next year.”

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