Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Duke shows off rugby skills at Coach Core scheme for Welsh apprentices

The Duke of Cambridge said he has the rugby skills to play for Wales as he joined young apprentice coaches for a training session.

Smartly dressed in a suit and tie William showed off his handling abilities with a rugby ball and joked with the youngsters about Wales' World Cup Rugby win over England.

William was playing with 12 trainees in Cardiff who have begun an intensive year-long Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Coach Core programme.

Speaking about Wales' victory over their arch rivals he told them: "Normally, I'm not on the winning team. So I was very proud walking around with these huge feathers."

The Duke, who is the WRU's vice royal patron, was pointing to his chest, where his father's Prince of Wales' feathers are sometimes embroidered on his tops.

William could not help poking fun at England, and mentioned their must-win World Cup match against Australia at the weekend and asked the apprentices if they would be supporting the team from Down Under.

When Kyle Raubenheimer, 19, from Newport, put his hand up the Duke joked: "There's always one."

Kyle said that William had the bragging rights over his brother Harry, who is an official supporter of England and had been "taking the mickey" out of his younger sibling.

The apprentice added: "This was a once-a-lifetime experience. Who can say they have thrown a rugby ball with the next king?"

Mr Raubenheimer joked that following Wales's World Cup win over England William had been "milking" it over his brother Harry, a staunch fan of head coach Stuart Lancaster's men.

He added: "I'm so passionate about rugby and coaching so being able to improve young people's lives through sport and rugby is a massive bonus for me, a job I will really love doing."

When William first arrived he was greeted by the WRU's chairman, Gareth Davies, head of rugby and former Rugby World Cup winner with England Josh Lewsey and Carl Scales, the WRU's apprentice manager.

The Coach Core programme the apprentices have begun was created by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in 2012 as part of the Olympic Legacy programme.

It provides an intense training course for young people, many from disadvantaged social backgrounds, to become qualified coaches and inspire their peers.

Over the coming months the 12 apprentices will work in schools and rugby clubs in their local communities across south-east Wales.

During the visit to the National Sport Centre in Cardiff to launch the programme the Duke joined in a drill session where the balls were thrown between the trainee coaches who stood in two lines facing each other.

He had earlier joked about not being able to take part because the suit-wearing Duke said he was "always badly dressed" for activities but he later changed his mind and declared "I'll be sweaty in two minutes".

As the rugby ball passed between the apprentices it finally reached the end of the line and William clapped with everyone and joked: "A bit faster (next time), it was a bit slow there."

After visiting the apprentices the Duke went to watch Wales's World Cup match against Fiji at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.


From Belfast Telegraph