RUGBY: STUDENTS at Grace Academy in Solihull won a world-cup level masterclass in footwork, handling, and kicking after being selected for a day of training with World Cup winning England rugby union star Jonny Wilkinson.
A total of 22 Grace Academy students were educated by Jonny about rugby after students won a prize-draw organised by Sky Sports Living for Sport.
Also in attendance was England Ladies Full Back Danielle Waterman and South African international player Thinius Delport.
Wilkinson, who guided England to World Cup glory in 2003, said he was delighted to see the Grace Academy students grow in confidence from the start of the session.
He said: “Seeing students grow in confidence with their sporting skill and things like willingness to join in is great.
“When given an opportunity like this, students really do come into their own and take that new confidence away with them at the end of the day.”
Student Rosie Allen said: “It was a great experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in playing rugby.
“I had a brilliant time learning new skills and meeting new people.
“I would like to thank the staff at Grace for including me in this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.”
Maxine Bromley, family support worker for Grace Academy Solihull, said that meeting sporting legend Jonny Wilkinson was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
She added: “Watching the students as they participated in the master class with Jonny and the team was truly delightful.
“I’m so proud of them all – memories were made that day that will last a lifetime.”
PE Teacher Jake Upton from Grace Academy Solihull said: “The Jonny Wilkinson masterclass was a fantastic and truly memorable experience, and one that the fortunate students who attended will never forget.
“Jonny, Thinius and Danielle were excellent with the students and took a genuine interest in developing their skills as people, as well as improving their skills within the sport of rugby.
“The students were blown away from start to finish, and the look on their faces throughout the day demonstrated just how inspired they all were.
“The students responded in exactly the right way and represented the academy superbly.”