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Barnet schoolchildren enjoy rugby session at Saracens' Allianz Park stadium
For many rugby fans, running out onto the pitch at a professional club’s stadium would be a dream come true.
But children at four Barnet schools got a chance make those dreams a reality when they joined in with a community rugby scheme at Saracens' new Barnet stadium on Thursday.
Pupils from Bishop Douglas, Mill Hill County, St Mary’s High and the Wren Academy, none of which have rugby pitches at their schools, took part in squad sessions at Allianz Park.
The session was run as part of the Premiership club’s Blast programme, an outreach scheme to encourage rugby in local schools.
Former Saracens scrum-half Kyran Bracken joined Blast coaches organising drills and small games on the £24million stadium’s artificial turf.
PE teacher Matthew Long brought a group of students from the Wren Academy to join in the session, which he says gives the children an opportunity they might not otherwise have.
He said: “These kids are on a heavy diet of football and for some it isn’t their forte. It has really ignited a passion in them, coming to this arena.
“It is a massive boost to be able to come here and is a great way of encouraging more children into sport.”
Saracens is looking to use its new plastic pitch for wider community use and Thursday’s session was one of the first opportunities to open its doors since the club’s move for Vicarage Road in Watford.
Sport development officer Josh Ward said: “We want this to be a regular occurrence. We want to build rugby in schools and teach the core values that go with it.
“It is a buzz to see the guys and their reactions when they step into the stadium. We’re very fortunate to be in a position to offer this to them.”