May 20 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, March 16, 2013
National pride is on the line tonight as the rugby union teams of England and Wales face each other in a Six Nations decider - but there is plenty riding on the match for one local rugby coach as well.
Rugby will be coming to the Forum in Norwich today as part of a tour by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and sponsors O2 to promote touch rugby.
The Touch tour event is being held to encourage the next generation of men and women to play touch rugby at their local clubs.
Northampton Saint and England international Paul Doran-Jones and England women’s international Maggie Alphonsi will be involved in the event, which will see a specially-laid pitch brought to the Forum.
The RFU has committed to establishing 75 new O2 Touch Centres by June 2013 and a further 100 during 2013/14.
The Untouchables rugby trick show team will be performing and some of the Norwich RFC players will also be involved with the event.
That is because head coach of Norwich RFC, Simon Hill, is Welsh and has been taking plenty of stick from the English members of his squad in training this week.
Mr Hill, 41, returned to Beeston Hyrne as head coach in 2011 having played for Norwich as an openside flanker between 1996 and 2004.
So there has been plenty of banter flying around during the club’s Tuesday and Thursday night training sessions this week.
“There’s always plenty of banter, until the game and then they become English again and become like football fans,” joked Mr Hill, who is originally from Newport.
“We’ve not got a game this week though so the guys are meeting up for a couple of drinks for the game.
“I think it will be a game of two different styles. I think England will try to limit the points over the course of the game and adapt back to their kicking game and Wales will be on the attack and trying to play the rugby.”
Aylsham brothers Ben and Tom Youngs are both set to start for England in today’s 5pm kick-off at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff - but there will also be a Norfolk-born player in the Wales team.
Winger George North was born in King’s Lynn while his English father was based in Norfolk with the RAF, but is not thought to retain any links with the county.
While Norwich’s first team don’t have a game today, North Walsham Vikings - who the Youngs brothers played some of their youth rugby for - have got an ideal warm-up for the day’s big Six Nations match.
Walsham take on Brighton Blues at Scottow in the London regional final of the Intermediate Cup, the national final of which is played at the home of English rugby, Twickenham.
Walsham are currently top of London 2 North East and Brighton are top of London Two South East, so an exciting game looks likely, kicking off at 2.30pm.
The Wales-England clash will then be screened on the big screen of the Viking Bar at Scottow.
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