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Town prepares to stage first rugby international
4:09pm Friday 1st March 2013 in Sport
DARLINGTON Rugby Club are hoping to attract a crowd of more than 1,000 on Sunday to watch the town’s first international.
Mowden Park are also keen to stage big games, but it had already been decided that the England v Scotland Under 18s match would be held at Blackwell Meadows before The Northern Echo Arena became the second biggest rugby stadium in the country.
Darlington secretary Tony Stowe said: “We are absolutely delighted to host the town’s first international and hope the area’s rugby fans will turn out in numbers to watch the future stars of English and Scottish rugby.”
Middlesbrough’s Lewis Boyce, 16, is one of only five northerners in the 23-man England squad for a match, which kicks off at 2pm with admission£5for adults and£3 for under-16s.
Boyce is on contract with Leeds Carnegie, who moved him from Middlesbrough’s McMillan Academy to Prince Henry’s Grammar School at Otley.
Darlington were hoping that Newcastle Falcons winger Zach Kibirige would be involved as his brother, Adam, used to play for the club.
But he is required by Yarm School, who are one step from Twickenham in the Daily Mail Schools Cup and face Plymouth College on Sunday at Broadstreet RFC, Coventry.
England U18s won the European Championship last season, beating Ireland 25-13 in the final, in Madrid.
Head coach John Fletcher began his playing career with Tynedale before moving to Newcastle Falcons, where he also became first team coach.
He said: “We are hugely excited about heading up to Darlington as they have excellent facilities and we have enjoyed great supportfrom matches in other parts of the country in previous seasons.”
The England coaches, who also include two other former Falcons forwards in Peter Walton and Ian Peel, will be taking coaching clinics over the weekend with Darlington’s junior and mini teams.
The club have had four coins struck with the England crest on one side and Scotland’s onthe other. One will be used for the toss and given to the referee, while both teams willalsobepresented withone and the club will keep one as a memento.
Toensure thepitchwillbe in perfect condition, Darlington applied some low temperature germination seed four weeks ago and it has not been played on since.
They will play tomorrow’s home match against Beverley on the second-team pitch and from noon they are staging a launch of their new kit. It is supplied by Samurai in a deal believed to be worth a five-figure sum over three years.