Rugby Union

Northampton Saints Youngsters Get A Taste Of Military Life

The team trained at Aldershot and also visited Sandhurst.

Youngsters from the Northampton Saints Academy have been getting a taste of military life ahead of the new rugby season. 

Saints' U18s side have been training all week at the Army's rugby stadium in Aldershot, as well as learning more about Armed Forces life on a visit to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

"Not all of these boys will get contracts to be professional rugby players," said academy manager Mark Hopley.

He said that it is really important to 'give them an eye-opener of what else they could use rugby for':

"It is really important for us to get that education into them.

"But ultimately for us, it's about taking a group of 30 players that all play at different scores and different clubs and using the really good facilities here."

The youngsters used the Army's rugby pitch at Aldershot for their sessions.
The youngsters used the Army's rugby pitch at Aldershot for their sessions.

Player Geordie Irvine already knew a bit about life in the Army. His older brother is currently at Sandhurst training to be an officer.

"He's been there since May and he's pretty much just finished his first term there," Irvine said. 

"I didn't actually know I was going to meet up with him... I went into the meeting room and one of the Regimental Sergeant Majors said 'do you want to meet him?'

"Five minutes later, he walked in mid-talk and then he came around with us for the talk.

"This has been an eye-opener."

Irvine with his brother at Sandhurst (Picture: Saints Rugby Academy/Twitter).
Irvine with his brother at Sandhurst (Picture: Saints Rugby Academy/Twitter).

During the camp, the squad stayed at Normandy Barracks, using the gym and swimming pool there to keep themselves in top condition.

Manager Hopley praised the "brilliant facilities" at Aldershot and said the camp has been "really beneficial". 

Time will soon tell what impact the military has had on the Saints' player as their season kicks off in the coming weeks.