Rugby legends attend Howden Big Rugby Day Out in Oxford


Rugby legends attend Howden Big Rugby Day Out in Oxford

Three former Lions Gavin Hastings, Jason Robinson and Tyrone Howe joined Red Roses legend Maggie Alphonsi at the Howden Big Rugby Day Out on 21 April in Oxford to celebrate grassroots rugby.

The grassroots rugby event at Oxford University Rugby Club’s Iffley Road ground, saw Howden launch their partnership with the Lions Origin programme.

The Lions Origin programme celebrates those clubs that have helped shape the future of the Lions by producing and guiding players on their rugby journey and the Howden Big Rugby Day Out event had a range of Lions Origin clubs in attendance.

They included Oxford University, Amersham and Chiltern and Long Buckby RFC who have collectively produced a total of 43 players including Ireland’s Tyrone Howe, and England’s Josh Lewsey and David ‘Piggy’ Powell.

The Howden Big Rugby Day Out event was a celebration of grassroots rugby with Gavin Hastings, Jason Robinson and Maggie Alphonsi leading coaching sessions with young players and sharing the influence of community clubs on their own rugby journeys.

“Community is so important because without it we don’t have a game, it’s simple,” Robinson said.

“The international game is based on grassroots. The more we can do to support clubs the better, which is where Howden’s investment in the game is massive. It’s not just the top level, it’s the grassroots.

“We know all the benefits that rugby has to offer kids, especially being in a team. The more we can do it; the more we can inspire, hopefully the stronger the game can be.

“It’s the amateur clubs that have worked so hard over the years to build these players into what they have become. Howden have seen that and are recognising that by providing a plaque to commemorate the role clubs have played in that journey.”

As part of the day Howden announced that Origin Clubs would receive a commemorative plaque to celebrate the incredible role they have played.

Alphonsi said: “We talk about what happens at the top end, but it’s really about nurturing our players to come through.

“It’s nice talking to young kids because they really want to go far and just have fun. It’s great to see that Howden are investing in it.

“It’s the best time for women’s rugby right now. We have lots of girls who have started a women’s or girls’ section and they are thriving.”

Hastings added: “As a former Lion myself, some people just imagine that Lions play for the Lions and nobody else but community is very much a the heart of rugby and these four nations of ours, it’s where we all learned to play rugby.

“Mini rugby has a massive part to play. Who know how many future Lions players were out on the pitch here?”

Find out more about the Lions Origin Programme here. 

Leading global insurance intermediary group Howden will be launching further support for the grassroots game across the UK and Ireland in the build-up to the 2025 British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia and the inaugural 2027 Women’s Lions Tour to New Zealand. Howden has over 200 branches in local high streets and their expert Sports and Entertainment team have long-standing relationships with both amateur and professional rugby clubs across the UK and Ireland.

Previous story Lawrence Dallaglio embarks on final sponsored bike ride
Next story Charlotte Gibbons appointed as Director Of Operations at The British & Irish Lions