Rugby: Sunderland hope for green light in tough trip to Darlington

Sunderland's second XV  (red and yellow) battle against Houghton Boars a fortnight ago
Sunderland's second XV (red and yellow) battle against Houghton Boars a fortnight ago

Sunderland RFC face a late pitch inspection as they travel to Darlington on Saturday hoping to get their season back on track.

Ninth-placed Sunderland are away to mid-table Darlington, with just a point separating the sides in Durham/Northumberland Two.

After losing last week’s home league tie to Acklam to the freezing weather, the Ashbrooke side have at least had time to rest key personnel.

They continue to blood their younger generation, including the six colts who graduated to the first XV and development team earlier this month.

All mini, junior and senior fixtures were wiped out by the frost and snow last weekend.

A club spokesman said: “We are facing a fixtures backlog, so we are hopeful of getting this game on, following all the cancellations across the county.

“Of course, we are aiming to encourage more and of our young players to follow the pathway from junior to senior rugby.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland are among 50 clubs across England to be selected, by the RFU, to drive their “Return to Rugby “ initiative.

Through research, the RFU has identified approximately one million players between the ages of 18 and 30 who no longer play rugby, and approximately 300,000 who may return to the sport.

This is where the Return to Rugby programme comes in. It is a coaching and playing programme that provides a safe, enjoyable reintroduction to rugby players who might want to return to the game.

The RFU says that the programme is “focused on refreshing key techniques to ensure that the risk of injury is reduced and to build confidence, with the emphasis on fun games and activities which promote health and fitness and reacquaint the player with the game.

So if you’re one of the 300,000, or know someone who is, sessions at Sunderland will run from Wednesday, January 31 at 6.30pm and subsequent Wednesday evenings after that.