Harlequins First Team To Return To Bermuda

May 5, 2015

The elite of British and European rugby are once again bound for Bermuda to share their skills with the island’s youngsters and the local community.

This year, 30 members of the Harlequins first team squad will return to Bermuda on June 1, 2015 for a week of school visits, coaching workshops and fund raising activities. The Harlequins have a rich heritage in rugby in the United Kingdom and abroad.

A spokesperson said, “For almost a century and a half, the club has contributed generously to the development of the game both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, Harlequins’ players have performed with distinction not just for England but for other nations, in the process bringing honour on themselves and their club.

“The players are planning to visit a number of local schools to provide an introduction to rugby and to speak to Bermuda’s school children about how sport in general instils leadership, team work, courage, sportsmanship and respect.

“The Harlequins visit is hoping to surpass the monies raised in 2014 for the Beyond Rugby charity and the Bermuda Rugby Youth Section. Beyond Rugby Bermuda is a partnership between the Family Centre and the BRFU working with “at risk” school children that may otherwise get lost in society.

“The charity does exactly as it says and goes “beyond rugby” to provide these children with valuable social and life skills and to provide them with options. The Charity’s co-founding sponsors, Validus Re and Aspen Re, continue to stand firmly behind this latest initiative and welcome the visit of Harlequins to raise the charities profile as well as raise some much needed funds.

Mike Cain, CEO of Aspen Re, said, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting project and to continue our on-going support of this excellent local charity.”

Gareth Nokes, event organiser and chairman of Youth Rugby in Bermuda, said, “Rugby is a game steeped in tradition, its players and supporters enjoy a deep sense of community and involvement. The core values and traditions of the sport develop from the first time a young player shakes hands with their opposite number, leading to a life-long passion for involvement with the game at all levels on and off the field.

“Bringing Harlequins players, many of whom have played at the highest level of the sport for many years, is not only exciting for Bermuda but it is hoped the workshops and seminars will inspire our youth to embrace the core values rugby offers.

“We must thank the generosity of the local and international businesses who have once again committed funding to make this such a successful event for Bermuda – without their generosity, this initiative would not be possible.”

Patrick Calow, BRFU Youth Development officer and coordinator of the Beyond Rugby program, said, “We are absolutely thrilled by the prospect of having Harlequins participate in the Beyond Rugby program. Bermuda’s ability to attract a team of the calibre of Harlequins will be of huge motivation to the kids in our program and those in schools who maybe experiencing rugby for the first time.”

“Following last year’s defeat, the opposition has been strengthened in 2015. Harlequins will face a firm test against a Bermuda Barbarians team managed by former England and British Lions hooker Lee Mears, and including international superstars from a number of European clubs. The match will also see the end of illustrious careers for both Ugo Monye [Harlequins] and Mark Cueto [Sale Sharks], who are retiring at the end of this season.”

David Ellis, CEO of Harlequins, said, “Harlequins is a club that takes enormous pride in the development and the success of our own Academy. As a club we aspire to challenge and educate young people who have limited access to resources and support in order to improve their health, well-being and future life opportunities.

“We are delighted to be able to support Beyond Rugby Bermuda who are working extremely hard to galvanize community cohesion, engaging people in volunteering, fundraising and development opportunities. As such, we are proud and excited to be involved with Beyond Rugby Bermuda and the Bermuda Rugby Youth programs. These programs are very much aligned with our core values.

“Nick Easter came to the island as part of the Bermuda Barbarians team in 2014. He was delighted with his warm welcome and this made it an easy the decision to bring over the Harlequins first team squad for the 2015 event.

“This year has the added excitement of being a Rugby World Cup year and we announced yesterday that we will play a friendly match against the USA at PPL Park, in Philadelphia on Sunday 30th August as a pre-season match for us and to help the USA prepare for the international tournament. We are therefore hoping that our match in Bermuda can inspire a new generation of future rugby stars.

“Who knows, hopefully one day we’ll have a Bermudan in the Harlequins squad?”

“The team arrives on June 1. Throughout the week, along with the school workshops, a coaching seminar and their involvement with the beyond rugby program itself, the squad will also participate in a series of fund-raising events. The organizers have arranged a charity golf event to be held at Tuckers Point Golf Club on Thursday, June 4, a touch rugby tournament on Wednesday 3rd June alongside a corporate dinner on Friday 5th June at the Hamilton Princess Hotel.

“The playing squad will be accompanied by several of the Harlequins coaching squad. These coaches have agreed to hold a seminar aimed at all sports coaches across the island, regardless of the sport, which will be used to explore areas such as improving athletic and team performance, the role of the coach in sport and setting the tone of a sports club.”

Mr. Nokes added, “We are hopeful Bermuda will get fully behind this exciting community initiative. These coaches are some of the best in the world and this is an excellent opportunity for Bermuda to learn from their experiences and tap into some of their considerable knowledge.”

“The seminar is free to attend and will be held at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess from 5.00pm to 7.00pm on Tuesday, June, 2.

“The visit of Harlequins will culminate in a match versus the Bermuda Barbarians on Saturday June 6. The match, to be held at the North Field of the National Sports Centre, will kick-off at 7pm after which the crowds will be entertained until midnight. Entrance is $20 on the door.

“There will be a fully licensed bar and a kids area. Doors open at 2pm with the Bermuda National Men’s Team in action, the Bermuda Women’s team displaying their skills as well as several youth rugby matches showcasing the skills of the Bermuda Youth program – including our Beyond Rugby players. So please come down and make a day of it.

“If you or your company is interested in being part of these events, please contact Gareth Nokes at Gareth.Nokes@enstargroup.com or Jacs Nokes at Jacsnokes@yahoo.co.uk, or visit the website for more information on the events and prices. Interested parties can also visit the Rugby Bermuda Facebook page and Twitter page.

To find out more about the Beyond Rugby program and how you or your child can get involved, email Patrick Calow, BRFU Youth Development Office, at pcalow@brfu.bm.

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