HUNDREDS of rugby fans turned out at Roundstone Lane on Tuesday evening when three England stars helped run a training session for Worthing Raiders.
That was Raiders’ reward for winning the inaugural Samsung try of the season award for 2014-15, after Jamie Redmayne finished off a stunning team move against Dorking last December.
Joe Launchbury, who began his career with Raiders in 2009, was one of the three England stars to attend, along with Bath duo Jonathan Joseph and George Ford.
The trio, along with coaches Jon Callard and Ian Peel, put the Raiders squad through their paces with a number of training drills for an hour-and-a-half, before they signed autographs, posed for photographs and took part in a Q&A session. Former England international Ugo Monye served as a host for the evening’s activities.
Launchbury admitted it was great to be back at Roundstone Lane and said: “It’s brilliant to be back, I’ve got really fond memories of the club.
“When I came here, I didn’t quite know what to do with my rugby career and didn’t quite know where I was but I had a great year here with a great set of guys. I really enjoyed my time here and that propelled me up to Wasps.”
Launchbury played with Redmayne at Raiders and on his former team-mate’s try, he said: “He doesn’t score too many and I don’t think he scored at all when I was here but it was a good team try.”
Launchbury also admitted he was impressed with the quality of Raiders’ youngsters and said: “It’s been a tough start by all accounts but they’ve got a young side and you can see glimpses in training tonight that they’ve got some really special and talented players.
“National 2 is a great level to play your rugby. I learned a ton at this level, it was my first men’s rugby experience and I learned loads. It’s important for these guys to try to enjoy what they do and improve their performances as well.
“It’s also been great to see some familiar faces tonight and to see so many people here, which shows the support for rugby in the area.
“It’s quite tough to get down to watch games now but I always keep a keen eye out for their results and I always see Worthing as my local team.”
Redmayne, who missed the training session after suffering a knee injury in October, which will keep him out until February, said: “I’m absolutely livid to miss it, especially as all this happened a year ago and I was fine. Then, at the beginning of October, bang there goes my knee when I just changed direction.
“I’ve just had to stand and watch everyone with the England boys but it’s been a brilliant night for the club and a great atmosphere.”
Matt Farnes, who sent the video of Redmayne’s try to Samsung, said: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant night and is a change of scenery for a Tuesday night in December, when you’d normally have bad weather or a bit of a dull patch of the season.
“It’s given everyone a good lift and, hopefully, it can act as a bit of a springboard for the season.
“We weren’t sure how many people would be here but it’s been brilliant with the amount of people and it means a lot to see them here. I know the England players are a big draw but everyone has been standing in the cold for an hour-and-a-half watching us train, so it’s been brilliant.”
Raiders coach Kieron Dawson added: “It’s been a great evening and it’s nice for the players to have a different voice. There’s been a bit of a buzz and everyone’s enjoyed it.”
To enter your club’s try into the Samsung try of the month competition for December or watch some of the best scores from up and down the country, click here
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