Ex-international rugby player, England all-time leading try scorer and RAF Flight-Lieutenant Rory Underwood hosted a celebration of rugby in London ahead of the Rugby World Cup with some of the most recognised names in the sport, all alumni of Barnard Castle School in County Durham.
Barnard Castle School Rugby professionals, alumni, governors and staff from the school made up the 70 guests who attended the recent event in London.
Rory invited Old Barnardians, such as Professional Rugby Director at the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and third highest point scorer for England, Rob Andrew and England 7s players Alex Grey and Falcons player Tom Catterick, to discuss their international playing experience. Club players such as Harlequins’ Karl Dickson and former England 7s player and now Saracens’ player Michael Ellery, also Old Barnardians, took part in the evening.
The school has one of the most prestigious rugby records in the country with an impressive list of players including the Underwood brothers, Mathew Tait, Lee Dickson and Tim Visser. Barney School has produced 37 under-19 international rugby players, leading The Times to comment that it has ‘a happy knack of producing some of England’s finest rugby talents.’
Multi-capped England international and former captain of Barnard Castle School’s 1st XV in 1981, Rob Andrew, said: “Rugby runs through the veins of Barney and the success of its former pupils within the sport is testament to its teachers and staff. However, the School taught me more than simply how to play the game; my academic education has enabled me to develop as a coach and leader, and to progress to my current position within the RFU.
“With the World Cup just around the corner, this event was a fantastic opportunity for us Old Barnardians to commemorate our time at the school and our love for the sport. We’re looking forward to seeing the next generation of Barney pupils step into the limelight.”
Barnard Castle School’s director of sport, Martin Pepper, was also present at the event and said: “At Barney, we believe rugby breeds important life skills in those who play it, and it’s fantastic to see former students progressing well at the highest level of professional sport. Such success is an inspiration to our current pupils who hear of their heroes’ time at their school and understand they can progress to the same level with dedication, determination and hard work. For a school of our size and with the number of boys to select from, we do exceptionally well.
“We ensure all pupils at Barney receive a first class educational experience and pride ourselves on turning out well rounded, high achieving and courteous citizens.”