Jersey Reds players visit Plat Douet school to meet young artist who designed their special new shirts

Children from Plat Douet School got a PE lesson with a difference when Jersey Reds players visited the school to meet the young artist who designed their special rugby shirts and finalise the design.

Plat Douet pupil Emily Neil won Santander International's Design a Rugby Shirt Competition - part of the Go Wild Gorilla initiative which took place this summer. The 10-year-old will see her design turned into rugby shirts to be worn by the Jersey Reds at a home game vs Nottingham on Saturday 9 November.

Six players from Jersey Reds joined Emily and her 6G class at Plat Douet School on their day off for a PE lesson with a difference. Charlie Beckett, Luc Jones, Tom Williams, Mark Best, Alex Thompson, and James Wayland gave the pupils an introduction to rugby training, then joined the class for a French lesson which culminated in a game of 'Jacques Dit', the French version of 'Simon Says'.

Jersey Reds player Charlie Beckett said: "I think we'll be the first rugby team to ever play in shirts with lemurs on. We're so used to playing in our traditional red shirts I was a bit surprised when I first saw the design but it’s really cool and it will be nice to wear the shirts.

"It's great to be able to meet Emily and introduce her class to rugby. I've been playing rugby since I was five, and the sport has taught me everything I know about teamwork and ambition. It’s a sport that gives children important lessons for all aspects of their lives."

The children got expert tips on passing and catching the ball from the players in a mini training session. Unfortunately, rain hampered play, eventually sending everyone back inside for a French class.

Players learned the words for their body parts in French, before joining in with a game of French 'Simon Says', or 'Jacques Dit'. Player Mark Best was the last man standing, confessing to an A-Level in French secured over seven years before.

Mark said: "The design gets behind Durrell and it's good for the team to be able to show a different aspect of the Island in this way. We're looking forward to wearing the shirts and hope the lemurs bring us luck on the day!"

Rugby is a new sport for Plat Douet School, with many of the children never having played or watched it before – something headmaster Phil Walker is keen to address.

Phil said: "Rugby in Jersey has received a lot of support from Santander International and events like this are a brilliant way of introducing children here to the sport. Rugby covers so many fundamental PE skills on the curriculum we're keen to get more children learning how to play it."

Check out how Jersey Reds and Plat Douet pupils got on in this short video.

To see Emily Neil's winning rugby shirt design being worn by the Jersey Reds on the 7th November 2019 click here.


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