Oriel High School received a huge boost after they were recently nominated for the School of the Year award at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards
The school’s rugby provision has developed significantly over the past 3 years, growing rugby from nothing, to having competitive teams from U12 to U15; Oriel are the current Crawley Schools Champions, have employed the expertise of local coaches from Crawley RFC and Haywards Heath RFC, and have a number of boys who have gained additional individual honours, having been invited to be part of Harlequins RFC Development Squads and one who has represented the Welsh Exiles. Head of PE at Oriel High School Ryan Ashley said “We are tremendously honoured to receive this national recognition and be a national finalist. We feel we can further develop Rugby at Oriel and go from strength to strength”.
Held at rugby Headquarters, Twickenham Stadium, the National Rugby Awards celebrate the best of English rugby, from grassroots to the very pinnacle of the game; former England captain Chris Robshaw played a major part in the creation of the awards, and while he was spending the tail end of his summer preparing for Harlequins’ new Premiership Rugby campaign, he took time out to congratulate all those nominated for an award.
Oriel High School earned their moment in the spotlight at the ceremony but faced stiff competition in the category with Cranleigh School, Cheltenham College (eventual winners), Brighton College, Sedbergh School and The Campion School also nominated.
“Whether it’s professional players, or right through to the amateur stuff, the unsung heroes, the big club men or women – both sexes are involved in these awards,” Robshaw said. “It’s a great night for all to get involved. It’s a ceremony that honours all levels, and not only on the pitch, but off the pitch as well.
“That’s what makes a local rugby club tick, everyone on and off the pitch working together, whether it’s the person clearing up, or making sure all the meals are there, or the player scoring all the tries, they’re all important.”
The awards began in 2015 and this year’s glittering ceremony was held on Wednesday, August 29, and was attended by rugby celebrities as well as members of England Rugby teams and Premiership players, leaving Robshaw confident of a memorable night for all. “It’s going to be an incredible event,” he added. “It’s in its fourth year now and its continued to grow every single year and I think the brilliant thing about the awards is the 12 categories up for grabs.”
Robshaw concluded “Being at the home of rugby is a great place to have it and a massive stage to be able to host something like this.”