Posts in Grassroots
Barbarian FC

Tongan Bear was the ringleader – a ‘tough $£#&’ who devised the signals, the special handshake, the celebration. There were drones, analysts, and a 92-year-old head honcho. They came from 12 countries and overcame a pin badge shortage to crush their opposition. This is how a man known as ‘Batman’, led the Barbarians to victory.

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GrassrootsSimon Campbell
Neath RFC

The chip van man at the Gnoll is trying to make things work. He’s going to give it another season and see what happens. The £14 electricity bill isn’t helping, margins are tight, but he’ll persevere, for now. Besides, it’s Neath v Pontypool today, so there should be a good crowd.

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GrassrootsSimon Campbell
London Welsh

Just four games into the London Welsh revival, they lose 17-7 to UCS Old Boys on a ‘small, slanting, pitch’. It’s not in the script. Coach Cai Griffiths is philosophical about defeat: “I wanted to rip people’s faces off.” The journey back is going to be a long one. 

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GrassrootsSimon Campbell
Cornish Pirates

One-by-one, the councillors stood up to say their piece. Twenty, thirty, maybe forty of them. Some were for, some against. Some eloquent, some, less so. Then, the vote. All 123 councillors, a single vote apiece, to decide the future of Cornish rugby. It started with a single ‘For’, but then, one after the other, the ‘Againsts’ rolled in.  

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Coventry Rugby

It’s survived World Wars, industrial collapse and royal insults, but Coventry has always shrugged its shoulders and got on with it. Its rugby club is no different. Once, only hours from extinction, it now turns over £1.6m, regularly pulls in crowds of over 2,000 (in the third tier), has internationals both playing and coaching, and has run away with the league title. And that’s before we mention UB40 and Steps.

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GrassrootsSimon Campbell
Chesham

To prove it’s a proper rugby club, an RFU shield hangs on the door of the repurposed garden shed. It’s not the most obvious place to find the country’s most capped coaching team, but then a lot of great things are built in sheds.

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