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International rugby comes to Darlington
IT'S a big weekend for Darlington Rugby Club as they will launch their new range of kit and leisurewear tomorrow prior to staging the town's first international on Sunday.
The kit is supplied by Samurai in a deal believed to be worth a five-figure sum over three years. The company's representatives will be present from noon to unveil leisurewear for all ages. They will design a range of clothing for the club's 150th anniversary this year.
The club are hoping to attract a crowd of more than 1,000 for Sunday's Under 18 international between England and Scotland, which kicks off at 2pm with admission costing £5 for adults and £3 for under 16s.
They are advising those keen to see the game to buy tickets in advance by ringing 01325 363777, although it will be possible to pay on the day.
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, a 16-year-old prop, is the only player from the region in the 23-man England squad. Zach Kibirige would almost certainly have joined him had he not been required by Yarm School.
They are one step from Twickenham in the Daily Mail Schools Vase and face Plymouth College on Sunday at Broadstreet RFC, Coventry.
England U18s' head coach is John Fletcher, who began his playing career with Tynedale before moving to Newcastle Falcons, where he also became first team coach.
Two other ex-Falcons forwards are involved in Peter Walton and Ian Peel and they 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 on the other. One will be used for the toss and given to the referee, while both teams will also be presented with a coin and the club will keep one as a memento.
The RFU's senior vice-president, Bob Reeves, will make the presentations and he has already been enlisted as chief speaker at Darlington's 150th anniversary dinner on October 19.
To ensure the pitch will be in perfect condition Darlington applied some low temperature germination seed four weeks ago, plus fertiliser, and it has not been played on since. Tomorrow's match against Beverley will be played on the second team pitch.