Twickenham Dream

Most sportsmen could only dream of how their own and their team performance could be changed if they had access to the very best training facilities and world leading coaches in their chosen sport.

For twenty players of Biggleswade Rugby Club, this becomes a reality on September 11th when they are taken to Twickenham as outright winners of the O2 Community Connections competition. Following an early start the Biggy Boys will be treated to breakfast on the coach, provided by O2 and arrive HQ for 9.30am.

The players will be given a day?s training with members of the England team, and have the England coaching squad at their disposal. The competition, sponsored by O2 was open to every club in England who is taking part in the Go Play Rugby programme, designed at recruiting players into the sport.

The judges, including England Rugby?s Rob Andrew looked at how much involvement the club has within their local community. Biggleswade highlighted working with local schools festivals at the club, the successful ?World Cup Party? and raising money for Keech Cottage Children?s Hospice and Sport Relief, training the Mid beds sports team in the county Youth games, working with BigglesFM and the probation service.

In an email to players, head coach Stan Matthews said "The competition was based on our entire rugby set up at Biggleswade, Seniors, Youth and Minis and how we interact and work with the local community. This chance should be seen as a great honour."

Part of the selection criteria is to pass on knowledge gained at Twickenham to other teams within the club.

The players will receive a motivational speech from the England coaches and them move through four training stations, including kicking led by Jon Callard, Attack led by Brian Smith and defence led by Mike Ford. A gym session will be held at the same time with a number of the England coaches involved including Martin Haag.

Haag has coached Biggy players before, although it was the Biggy U9s during the not to be forgotten Millennium Tour to Bath in 2000 . One player who was on that Tour was Michael Haddow who is fortunate enough to be attending the O2 day at Twickenham.

County U19s player Domonic Nott commented "I want to experience how the England squad train and what I need to do to improve my own performance?. Nott, who plays No8 for Biggleswade Colts has recently been selected into the East Midlands U18 squad."

Following the pitch action, the de-brief will include ice baths, so favoured by the top premiership players. The players will then get changed in the England dressing room and attend a lunch in the Presidents Suite, with some of the England players. Joining the Biggy Boys at Twickenham are Hadleigh RFC from Suffolk who improved their membership the most during year one of the Go Play campaign.

In recognition of the part played in winning the O2 Community Connections award, an England shirt signed by the entire squad will be presented to the Mini and Youth Section at the club by an England world cup winner, at a date to be finalised!

Club chairman John Thoday said "This is a fantastic opportunity for the players to gain first class coaching at the home of rugby. Choosing the twenty players has been very difficult as so many people at the club have put a lot of effort into our community involvement over the years."

The players first taste of the big time comes shortly, when Sky Sports film a training session at the club, to be followed by a series of interviews at Twickenham, for inclusion in Sky Sports ?SportsNation? programme.

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