Now, this is going to be one of those unusual ‘events’, probably more like an article than a blog too. With a journey to The Stoop to make I decided to multi-task. I very clearly have an interest in the work carried out by Saracens, but also the link between the club and Sanlam Private Wealth.
Therefore I made my way to Sevenoaks Rugby Club, sort of on the way to Twickenham. In this instance the link with Sanlam was actually Sevenoaks RFC, it’s great to discover that they also support grassroots rugby. I wrote an article earlier in the year about an event the company facilitated at Kirkby Lonsdale RFC involving two Saracens players.
I arrived to see children galore! In fact there were 170 of them, and virtually every one had a Sevenoaks shirt on, this is a club that means business and is really growing the game!
I was able to have a good chat with Ed Clarke the Rugby Camps Manager, any Saracens fan reading will also know him as the Match Day compere – and a very fine job he makes of that!
Ed explained the situation as far as Rugby Development and Saracens are concerned. Each Premiership club has a responsibility to cover a specific area, for Saracens that is Herts, Essex and Kent. The ‘big boys’ are expected to liaise with local clubs and over the summer Saracens have held 22 camps across their area involving some 1500 young people.
The camps come in all shapes and sizes from 2 days to a week, Ed explained that Sevenoaks RFC had by far the highest number of participants, he was full of praise for the support given by Sanlam as a club sponsor.
I was interested in the make up of the personnel working in the camps and Ed explained there were a mix of full time coaches some of whom are working with the Saracens Sports Foundation – another wonderful arm of the club – school teachers including Mike Hebden, Head of Rugby at Kings Rochester School and Charlie Hughes just appointed at the Head of Rugby at the American School in London.
I was particularly pleased to hear that Joe Mbu formerly Head Coach at London Skolars had been working with the camps during the summer. In total there are between 25 to 30 coaches spreading their knowledge and love for the game of rugby over the summer.
It was great to see a group of girls training with 2 coaches, they’d come along separately and were putting the girls through their paces, one of the coaches was an England prop Scarlett Cooper-Wall, it was great to see her at work and chat to her about the game.
I had to get away to get to the Premiership 7’s but not before I saw the impressive array of prizes on display; I can only imagine the local Sanlam office was empty that afternoon, several members of staff had come down to support the day and award trophies. We also had the company of a certain Premiership Rugby Trophy decked out in Saracens colours of course!
It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, great to see so many young people having fun through rugby!