Pupils from a number of local Carrickfergus schools had the opportunity to train alongside the Ulster Rugby team this week as the Ulster Rugby LineOut Programme, supported by Phoenix Natural Gas officially kicked off.
More than 250 pupils came to watch the team train at Carrickfergus Grammar School where they showcased the professional drills and plays they work through to prepare the team for the competitive season.
As well as the open training session, some of the local pupils got put through their paces during an on-pitch development session where the pupils were joined by some of the Ulster Rugby professional team and their development coaches who shared their skills and tips for improvement.
Speaking about the session, Jonathan Martindale, Executive Director at Phoenix Natural Gas said: “The LineOut programme is all about standing shoulder to shoulder with communities and it was inspiring to see so many local schools come together for this open training session where they had the opportunity to learn new skills from the professionals which they can put to use in improving their own game.
“There are so many attributes in sport that are vital for individuals and communities to develop, such as teamwork, resilience and communication, and we see the Lineout Programme and range of initiatives within it as an engaging way to share these skills with people of all ages and backgrounds right across Northern Ireland.
Chris Webster, Head of Rugby Development at Ulster Rugby said: “Ulster Rugby is more than just a professional team and it’s important that we continue to engage with people across the Province and open up opportunities for people from all backgrounds to play the game we love.
“We’re very fortunate that we have a great group of players who are keen to connect with their local communities, promote the values of rugby and ultimately make a difference in society and we hope that the session at Carrickfergus helps inspire those values across all levels of the game.”