TV rugby coach gets Sunderland players up to scratch

Sky's 'School of Hard Knocks' has been coaching Cage Rugby at Ashbrooke Cricket Club. Some of those taking part are pictured discovering how the sport is played.
Sky's 'School of Hard Knocks' has been coaching Cage Rugby at Ashbrooke Cricket Club. Some of those taking part are pictured discovering how the sport is played.
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TV rugby coach Chris Chudleigh has been putting teenage players through their paces on Wearside.

The fitness and sport science expert, who features on the Sky Sports’ show School of Hard Knocks, visited Sunderland Rugby Club to take part in a series of training sessions.

Using specially-designed inflatable Cage Rugby equipment, the members of the Under 15s and 16s teams honed their skills under the watchful eye of the former RFU coach, who learnt about the Ashbrooke-based club on social media.

Tony Hodgson, who coaches the Under 15s, said: “I’d seen the show quite a few times and follow Chris on Twitter.

“I learnt about the training sessions he holds across the country, got in touch, and it went from there.

“The players all chipped in with a few pounds each to cover the cost and we set it up.”

The TV show, now in its third series, documents the work of the development programme of the same name, which aims to use the game to help troubled, unemployed youths back into work.

Chris, who has played rugby in England, Wales, Ireland as well as the British Army, is spending four days at the club .

“He’s done a great job,” said Tony. “The lads have had a great time and learnt a lot. The Under 15s spent the first two days with him and the Under 16s the other two.

“The inflatable cage, which is about 11 metres square, helped them with their contact management.”