Inspiring New Generations

The Leicestershire Schools’ Union began as a means of inspiring schoolboys to take up rugby, the gentlemen who established the league would be proud to see the legacy of their idea today. For many, it was at school that rugby was introduced – this was the case for Phil Smith. Phil began playing for Alderman Newton's Boys School at 11 in the 1960s and competed in the Leicestershire Schools Union.”

England Boys' First Team from the England v Wales Boys First International, March 1904

England Boys' First Team from the England v Wales Boys First International, March 1904

When he later became a teacher Phil was once again inspired by schools rugby and began coaching the school side at the Mundella School. He then went on to coach the Leicestershire County Schools side which nurtured some of Rugby’s biggest names, including Martin Johnson. Phil was always involved with the Leicestershire Schools’ Rugby Union even once his coaching days were behind him and he now takes on an administrative role for the league. For many people like Phil it was rugby at school which was the starting point for an outstanding career. Phil played for his school, the County and the Leicester Tigers and he now works hard with others to inspire new generations within schools to take up this great sport. Since the 1920s Leicestershire Schools’ Rugby Union has hosted some of the Country’s best players and we can only hope that in the future schools, in the city and county, continue to inspire young players.

Rugby Trophy from Moat Boys School (now Moat Community College) dating before 1970. Shared with the project by the family of former teacher Jon Hall.

Rugby Trophy from Moat Boys School (now Moat Community College) dating before 1970. Shared with the project by the family of former teacher Jon Hall.

Upon its centenary in 1994 Dean Richards (St Martins RC and John Cleveland College, Leicester Tigers, Barbarians, England, British Lions) said this of his time with the Leicestershire Schools’ Rugby Union:

“Rugby for me epitomises everything good about sport, the competitive edge on the field, the game for all shapes and sizes and the ability at the end of the game to socialise (sometimes too heartily) with the opposition … Leicestershire Schools U18 group was, for me, the first time I had toured with a team of any sorts and was to prove one of the most memorable … Leicestershire Schools have fond memories for me and I know that even more will follow for other people.”

Dean Richards, 1994.


Audio - Phil Smith: Teaching in the City
Audio clip of Phil Smith talking about teaching in Leicester.



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