On 12 May 2016, Rugby for Heroes took a team out to Paderborn to play British Army Germany (BAG) in what was the first of its kind for the Charity. As well as fulfilling the fixture against BAG, the aim of the tour was to promote the Charity within the armed forces, in particular the Charity’s “Transition Through Rugby” courses, which offers a Level 2 coaching qualification.
The squad was hosted by the 1st Armoured Medical Regiment at Dempsey Barracks and was made up of a number of armed forces personnel who had successfully completed the courses as well as ex professional rugby players including Junior Paramore (ex Samoa & Gloucester), Kevin Yates (ex Bath, Saracens & England) and Jon Goodridge (ex Gloucester & Bristol). The squad was managed by Charity Ambassador and actor Julian Lewis Jones.
As well as the match against BAG, two coaching clinics were also hosted for British schoolchildren currently based in Germany. This not only provided the children with the opportunity to meet and be coached by stars of the game but also offered an opportunity to the Charity’s qualified Level 2 coaches to further their experience and put in to practice the qualification obtained through the Rugby for Heroes transition courses.
The game itself took place on Saturday 14 May and was a hard fought contest by two evenly matched sides, with the R4H XV running out eventual winners 41-19. Speaking on behalf of the Charity, trustee Simon Bailey commented: “Whilst obviously a pleasing result for the Charity, it was the overall success of the weekend and the reception given by our hosts that was the most memorable aspect. We very much hope that this will be the first of many tours and have no doubt revenge for the defeat is already in the planning!”
The Charity wishes to thank everyone who assisted in making the tour such a success but in particular British Army Germany, our tour sponsor Pneuma Roofing and our ex professionals and ambassadors for giving their time (and ageing bodies!) so generously.
(Photos courtesy of Cpl J Dudding RLC)