Kingham Hill School saw plenty of tries, conversions and line outs when the Oxford University Varsity Blues rugby squad visited for its preseason training.
The school’s outdoor rugby facilities and indoor swimming pool provided the stage for the university’s top rugby team to practise a number of technically challenging drills that tested and improved their conditioning and core rugby skills.
The Kingham Hill boys’ rugby team were delighted to extend an invitation to the Oxford team to join them at the school for training. The boys were thrilled to have the opportunity to watch and participate in the day long training camp, which gave them the chance to learn and improve their skills with such experienced players.
Kingham Hill Biology teacher and Oxford University rugby player, Basil Strang, who successfully led the Oxford University second rugby team to victory over Cambridge last year, was thrilled to be able to join his team in helping the school’s pupils develop their own skills.
Basil reflected on the successful training day: “The preseason day at Kingham was a fantastic day for the Kingham and Oxford boys alike. It proved a valuable learning opportunity for the Kingham boys as they tested themselves against some top quality players at Oxford University! I hope it is a relationship that will continue to flourish. A link between the rugby teams stands as testament to the direction rugby is going here at Kingham Hill. I am excited for what the future holds.”
The school team trained with the Oxford players in small groups practising their line out technique, kicking precision, and scrum and tackling abilities. Both teams joined together to play a fast paced touch rugby match.
“This was a unique opportunity for a school team to train alongside a professional set up, the boys benefited across the board from developing specific skills to seeing how the OURFC players enjoyed themselves in a serious and disciplined environment. It was an inspiring experience for the boys,”m said Chris Ashton, Head of Rugby at Kingham Hill School.
Following the top level training the Kingham Hill players were able to get more top tips during a meet and greet with the members of the Oxford team, a number of whom hold professional rugby contracts.
Adam Smith, Kingham Hill pupil and 1st XV captain said about the opportunity: “It was great to have a formidable opposition in front of us, upping the pressure and helping us learn a huge amount about our own positions. It made us want to improve our own game and see how good we can be.”
Oxford Varsity team captain, Fergus Taylor, reflected on the day: “It was good to be able to travel outside of central Oxford to such a scenic place to train. The swimming and rugby facilities were excellent and the Kingham Hill boys were very engaged throughout the whole day, there are a number of sharp players in the squad.”