Thu, 06 Sept 2018
IT’S easy to see why Tom Curly can’t wait for the start of the school term.
The 16-year-old Newbury Blues Colts player is one of a number of sixth formers who will embark on a unique rugby opportunity at Park House School this year, coupling the sport alongside his A-levels.
A brainchild of former England captain Lewis Moody and his wife Annie, ‘Mad Dog Rugby’ is a programme designed to keep students engaged throughout sixth-form education, providing them with a positive physical outlet to help them focus on their studies.
The pair visited Park House on Tuesday, August 28, where they spent time chatting to excited egg-chasers being put through their paces by head coach Andy Brownhill, who is leading the scheme at the Newbury school along with assistant coach Mike Kirby.
For Tom, captain of the Blues Colts side last season, the prospect of developing his rugby at school under the eye of a former England great is still sinking in.
“It’s just so surreal – I found myself in a defensive line with Lewis Moody and it was just incredible,” said the youngster, who will be studying English literature, politics and PE at A-level this year.
The Andover Road school is the first in Berkshire to benefit from the scheme, which has been rolled out in Wiltshire at Melksham Oak Academy and Wootton Bassett Academy.
The programme lends its name – Mad Dog – to the one Mr Moody earned as a player, reflecting the endless commitment and fearlessness with which he played, although the 71-time international admits it is a bit “cringe”.
The scheme aims to create a stimulating environment for those in sixth-form education, harnessing the benefits of physical effort on the pitch with academic ability in the classroom.
“It’s basically like another A-level block, which is integrated into the weekly timetable,” said Mrs Moody, managing director of Mad Dog Sport.
“It’s not about creating elite rugby players – it’s about using rugby to keep them engaged in school and to get their A-levels,” said Lewis, a former England 2003 World Cup winner and former Leicester Tigers talisman, who started out with mini rugby at Bracknell RFC.
“A lot of them use rugby as an outlet for frustrations in other walks of life.
“This programme runs completely alongside their A-levels, so that it helps them focus. It’s not about creating an elite pathway for them, but if that’s the by-product of what we do, then that’s wonderful.”
Former England captain @LewisMoody7 is at @PHSNewbury today launching his latest ‘Mad Dog Rugby’ programme - the first school in #Berkshire where the scheme is being rolled outsee this week’s @NewburyToday for more pic.twitter.com/8qMJ31Phoa— Fiona Tomas (@fionatomas_nwn) August 28, 2018