OUR MISSION:
Dallaglio RugbyWorks is an intensive, long-term skills development programme based on rugby, through which we aim to get teenagers outside of mainstream education into sustained education, employment or training.

Our Founder, Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, writes on how England forward Kyle Sinckler is a role model for disengaged young people across the country.

It’s been amazing to watch this England side grow from strength-to-strength during the Rugby World Cup. My sincere hope is that I am soon joined by a new cohort of English heroes who have lifted the William Webb Ellis Trophy.

However, I wanted to focus on one man who has impressed me with his performances so far in Japan who shares a similar story to my own away from the pitch.

Kyle Sinckler was born in to a single-parent home in London, attended a state school and is now a role model for others on similar path. Kyle didn’t have the easiest of upbringings dealing with anger and frustration but found solace in rugby and its values. This is a sentiment I share with him, having experienced the tragic loss of my sister when I was 16; I was only a few bad decisions off wrecking my future. Instead I dealt with the pain and anguish on the rugby pitch.

It’s so important for the younger generation to have role models like Kyle because it’s all too easy to experience heartbreak, grief, abandonment or abuse and give up on yourself. Kyle has often credited his mother as being his rock in his homelife, whilst citing rugby as giving him an avenue to express himself.

But I’ve seen first-hand that not every teenager has this support system in place and how this can quickly lead to mistakes that pave the way for a dangerous future.

I read an interview from Kyle recently where he was speaking about the ongoing concerns around youth violence in London. He said: “Look at the stuff that’s happening around London with the knife crime. It’s just because kids are bored, sitting around. When I was a kid I had training, I was playing football, rugby, cricket, I was doing kick boxing, karate, I didn’t have time to think about doing something bad. At the moment kids are sitting around and they want that adrenalin rush. They need to fall in love with some kind of sport, some kind of activity.”

Kyle was right about finding a passion and an outlet for built-up tension. This is the reason I set-up RugbyWorks, my charity.

We exist to break the cycle of disengaged young people turning to criminality, surrendering to the injustice that prevails in areas of deprivation and not having the support or know-how to find a better future. RugbyWorks operates in 83 schools, with the majority being in London including Francis Barber PRU in Tooting, just a few miles from where Kyle grew up.

Whilst we’re very much open to encouraging a career in rugby for our young people on the programme, our aim is to coach teenagers the important values of the game such as respect, teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship to take into their futures.

These values are something that Eddie Jones still drives home in all his players. It was well documented that Warren Gatland’s comments regarding Kyle being an ‘emotional time bomb’ in the Six Nations was a turning point; Kyle then sought help to confront his troubled childhood and he has been able to channel the fiery temperament into being one of England’s stand-out players on the World stage.

The new-found composure is something that has allowed Kyle to make it to the World Cup Final – and it’s part of a message that I want to keep shouting loud and clear.

We all can change our destiny, but we are not alone. We must use the love and support from those who surround us and use that to a positive effect in our personal lives, as well as supporting those less fortunate as us.

That is why Kyle’s story is remarkable. He has been able to change his destiny using his belief along with the support of those closest around him. At RugbyWorks, we are attempting to do the same with 550 young people across the UK every day.

I hope to call Kyle a World Cup champion on Saturday, but he has already shown that anyone can be a champion, regardless of where they start in life. If you believe, you can achieve.

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