UCS enjoy special day against Feltham team

Action from a previous meeting between UCS Old Boys' second XV and a team from HMP Feltham Young Off

Action from a previous meeting between UCS Old Boys' second XV and a team from HMP Feltham Young Offenders Institute (pic: Saracens Sport Foundation) - Credit: Archant

UCS Old Boys second XV had a day to live long in the memory earlier this month after stepping inside HMP Feltham Young Offenders Institute to take on a team made up of inmates held there.

The prison team only came together for the first time in September as part of the Saracens Sport Foundation’s ‘Get Onside Programme’.

The course sees young men serving time in the prison go from picking up a rugby ball for the first time to playing a full contact game in just eight weeks.

The course includes lessons on work skills, conflict resolution and goal setting – the skills needed to break the cycle of reoffending when they are released.

These skills are then tested and challenged on the rugby field as the group learn and prepare for the final day of the course, a fixture against a senior rugby team.

The UCS players arrived unsure of what to expect, moving through prison corridors, security checks and holding rooms out to a rugby pitch surrounded by tall fences topped with barbed wire.

As part of the day, the young men on the course were able to invite their families to watch, so the sidelines were lined with loved ones and prison staff all there to cheer on the Feltham team.

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In a physical encounter, UCS found themselves behind at the break as Feltham led 17-10.

The game continued in a similar vain in the second half, with the prison team eventually winning 34-25.

The spirit that both teams played with truly represented the values of rugby and was a great advertisement for the game.

The impact of the game is sure to be huge for the Feltham team.

Usually surrounded by negativity the young men will have gained a huge amount of confidence that they can break the cycle of reoffending and lead positive lives as they leave the prison.

The Saracens Sport Foundation will continue to work with the young men as they are released from prison, supporting them into employment and education, inspired by the success of the game.