Young rugby playersget Rhinos chance

Fiona Evans

Youngsters will be given a chance to play at the Rhinos’ Super League home fixtures and to learn about railway safety.

Train operator Northern Rail has teamed up with the Leeds Rugby Foundation to sponsor the Rhinos Junior Matchday Festivals project to offer junior rugby teams across Leeds and the wider Yorkshire area the opportunity to play at the fixtures.

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The project will also offer children the chance to take part in classroom exercises at the Headingley Learning Centre to learn about the dangers of playing near railway lines.

On match days they will go behind the scenes on a Headingley Carnegie Stadium tour, experience the build up to an engage Super League game, watch the game and participate in a junior rugby festival during half time.

Chris Rostron, general manager Leeds Rugby Foundation, said: “Being safe, respecting yourself, others and the places where we live, work and play are all key messages promoted by the Rhinos in the community. Experience has taught us that we all tend to learn more when we’re enjoying the experience and having fun.

“With Northern Rail’s support, many hundreds of children and their families will now be invited to the world-famous Headingley Carnegie Stadium to enjoy all of the colour, excitement and entertainment of Super League as well as take part in the railway safety presentations with Ronnie the Rhino, see behind the scenes and play rugby on the famous turf.”

Leeds Rugby Foundation, the joint charity of Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie rugby clubs, was formed in 2006 to help with the delivery of their sport, health and educational work with youngsters.

David Wilkinson, Northern Rail’s community safety manager, said: “A key part of our railway safety education programme is supporting diversionary activities, and playing rugby league prevents the boredom that young people often cite as a reason for trespassing on the tracks and committing anti-social behaviour.”