18th January 2017
23 students from Barking & Dagenham College?s Rugby Academy went on a once in a lifetime trip to Perpignan in France to meet the Perpignan rugby squad.
17 year old James Faminu who lives in Chingford, is in his second year of the Rugby Academy BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport course. James said: “This is one of the best countries to visit for rugby. There are many pitches, clubs and local teams in the area which are either a short walk or a short bus ride away.
“We got to spend time with teammates, bond and enjoy each other’s company which will improve our relationships in games as well. The people looking after us are very friendly although not all of them speak English. The French cuisine is amazing!
“There have been a lot of activities for us to enjoy each day, be it sightseeing or something rugby-related, so we're never bored.
“We met the Perpignan (USAP) squad whilst they were training and got to meet and greet the professional players and they answered a few questions we had for them. We also took a tour of the Perpignan official home stadium.
“On Wednesday we trained with the USAP academy players and coaches who gave us helpful advice and strategies that we hadn't used previously. French rugby is a lot faster than British rugby, so it involved a lot more running and passing than I was used to.
“On the Sunday we went to watch the USAP 1st team play which was really fun to watch and learn how they play. At half time we did a lap around the pitch with our college flags as their guests of honour and got a few cheers and waves from the crowd, which was a great experience to enjoy.
“We've also been learning French. It was fun to see people who had never spoken French learn a completely new language and the teachers were very helpful, although they didn't know a lot of English. I enjoyed it because I know it would come in handy if any of us ever wanted to play rugby in France or even just to visit the country.
“It has been a wonderful experience I'm sure I won't forget!”
Another group will be doing the same tour in April/May and the College hopes to make the tour an annual event.