BASINGSTOKE RFC has hosted secondary school rugby coaching and tournaments all season, culminating in Year 7 pupils battling it out in the final tournament.

The initiative is part of AXA Wealth’s three-year commitment to being the community partner for the club, with further tournaments, community programmes and educational presentations all in the pipeline.

These sessions proved a great success and have been run since September.

They have given pupils from Year 7 to 11 the chance to play rugby under the guidance of qualified coaches.

The final tournament saw Year 7 pupils from six schools battle it out in the final sevens competition, with Brighton Hill Community School scooping first place.

The sessions have been coached by Basingstoke RFC’s director of rugby James Croker and community rugby coach Arron Hood, along with first team players Guy Wilkinson and Matt Guilfoyle.

Croker said: “This has proved to be a great success and it always nice to see young players enjoying playing rugby.

“The young Basingstoke players are great ambassadors for the club and it was good to see their friends play at Down Grange He added: “I would like to thank AXA Wealth and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for their help and support and everyone who has helped with the coaching, especially community rugby coach Arron Hood and Chris Sheers of Bishop Challoner.”

Mike Kellard, chief executive officer at AXA Wealth, said: “Congratulations to all of the students that took part in the AXA Wealth Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Schools Sevens.

“It’s great to see so many of the local schools being brought together by sport. The tournament has been a great opportunity for students to cheer on their class-mates, play and learn about rugby as well as helping create a good community spirit.

“I believe that, through collaboration with Basingstoke RFC, AXA Wealth can help contribute positively to some great activities, building on the community culture within Basingstoke.”