The head of rugby at a school given a special prize at a ceremony this week has described it as a shot in the arm for sport taught in state-educated schools.

Tom Street oversees rugby at The John Fisher School in Purley, having taken up the position last year.

The school was recognised at Wednesday’s Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards, where it was crowned School of the Year at the ceremony at Twickenham.

And Mr Street, a former pupil at the all-boys school, says the impact of rugby on moulding the youngsters on and off the field is key to their development.

“It’s a huge achievement for us – we’re a state school competing against some of the top independent schools in the country,” he said.

“We mostly have quite good success against them, and for all the hard work we’ve put in, this is a massive honour for us.

“Sport at our school is massive, and with the way state education is at the moment with cuts, it means so much to our boys.

“We’ve got boys who come to the school who have never played rugby and teaches them the respect and the core values we have in rugby.

“It guides them through and makes them great people – at the end of the day, when they come to our school, we want to get the best out of them and when they leave our school, we want them to be good all-round guys.”

The Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards are now in their third year of honouring everything that is great and good about rugby at all levels, from elite international players to volunteers at the grassroots part of the game.

And Mr Street added the awards promote the inclusive nature that the sport can be so proud of boasting.

“The awards are massive, what they do is showcase that it’s not an independent school world now,” he said.

“You’ve got top independent schools that breed excellent programs and have the resources to do that, but this is just something to the smaller state schools who may feel like they can’t compete.

“But put in the time and effort, keep plugging away, and there’s opportunities for you to progress.

“Hopefully that can showcase the sport of rugby to what it should be.”

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