World cup rugby player passes on skills to Hartlepool youngsters

Former England international player Neil Back pictured coaching at Mayfield Park.
Former England international player Neil Back pictured coaching at Mayfield Park.

A World Cup winning rugby player said he was impressed with the enthusiasm of Hartlepool players.

Rugby World Cup winner and England legend Neil Back came to the town to pass on his skills as part of a national programme to promote the sport.

Former England international player Neil Back pictured at Mayfield Park with(left to right) Thomas Turnbull, EJ Newell and Timmy Din.

Former England international player Neil Back pictured at Mayfield Park with(left to right) Thomas Turnbull, EJ Newell and Timmy Din.

Neil is part of The Rugby Force and went along to the offer coaching support and advice to Hartlepool RFC at their NatWest RugbyForce weekend celebration.

The former Nottingham and Leicester Tigers player said he had a great time during his vist to the club.

He said: “As a coach what you want to see is players who want to improve and are keen and enthusiastic.

“What I am seeing in Hartlepool are committed and enthusiastic boys. I have seen a few good players that have really taken my eye.”

What I am seeing in Hartlepool are committed and enthusiastic boys

Neil Back

Neil, who played in three World Cups, said rugby is a great way for young people to learn new skills, including how to be part of a team.

Now in its eighth year, the community initiative run in partnership between NatWest and England Rugby aims to help clubs up and down the country attract new members and to become stronger and more sustainable.

Stewart Hind, chairman of mini and junior rugby at the club, said they were delighted to have Neil go along and he spent the afternoon coaching players of all ages.

Stewart said: “It’s not every day a World Cup winner comes to the town, let alone the club, so it is really good.”

He said during the weekend celebration they had around 15 new youngsters interested in joining the club.

Throughout the year clubs from across the country have been applying for the chance to see Neil join their NatWest RugbyForce celebrations, in addition to receiving benefits such as grant funding, club workshops and pitch maintenance sessions.

Hartlepool RFC was selected due to the club’s community focus and forward-thinking approach and it also got a £500 grant.