Wykham Park Academy girls run out for rugby at Twickenham Stadium

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Twelve Year 7 girls from Wykham Park Academy had an unforgettable experience when they participated in a special schools rugby showcase event at the iconic Twickenham Stadium.

The day began at the nearby Richmond Athletic Ground with the Girls' U12 Love Rugby Showcase Festival which aims to demonstrate the growth of the game in schools. There have been over 22,000 age grade girls registrations in the 2023/24 season and pupils from Wykham Park are representative of those new to the game.

“We’re proud to be part of a pilot run by North Oxfordshire School Sports Partnership in tandem with the RFU and Youth Sport Trust,” explained Lewis Pratt, Head of PE at Wykham Park Academy. “Our aim has been to engage more students in Rugby and we have used some relatively new formats of the game - Touch Union and X Rugby - to do this. It’s been inspiring to bring the girls to this event as the only representatives from Oxfordshire.”

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In recognition for their part in the pilot and in broadening access to the game, the team was invited to take part as one of thirty schools present for the day of rugby which included the boys’ Continental Tyres Schools Cup Final, the School Vase Final and the U18 Girls U18 Colleges Final.

The U12 team from Wykham Park Academy at TwickenhamThe U12 team from Wykham Park Academy at Twickenham
The U12 team from Wykham Park Academy at Twickenham

For the Wykham Park Team however, the highlight of the day came in the afternoon when they took to the hallowed turf of Twickenham where, just six days earlier, the stadium had hosted England's thrilling victory over Ireland in the Six Nations Championship, a match which had captured the imaginations of the Year 7 team.

"The day was all about enjoyment, fun and meeting other girls playing the sport," said Lewis. "The girls loved every minute of it, especially playing on the same pitch where they had just witnessed a thrilling international match."

“The team also deserve credit for their commitment to the rugby project in school. We’ve trained student leaders to run a lunchtime Rugby activity and the RFU supplied them with all the kit they need to do that. Wykham Park Academy and the North Oxfordshire School Sports Partnership are committed to building on this success in the coming seasons. Their collaborative efforts are paving the way for a future where rugby is a popular and accessible sport for girls of all ages.”

The girls agreed the day had been a great success:

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Excitement abounds!Excitement abounds!
Excitement abounds!

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and so much fun to play rugby with my friends,” said Year 7 student Jessica Gold while Molly Wilmott was clear about how much the event had meant to her: “It was the best experience of my life!”

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