Rugby fans flocked to Leeds Rugby Academy for a day of competition and celebration designed to inspire the next generation of stars, and celebrate the game’s strong role in shaping the city’s identity.
The Ambassadors Festival of Rugby, organised by the Leeds Rugby Foundation, saw dozens of community clubs from across the region come together in Kirkstall for a feast of family-friendly fun.
Events included junior rugby tournaments for seven to 11-year-olds, and an over 35s ‘masters’ tournament for dads and other enthusiastic amateurs.
Rhinos players including Jamie Jones-Buchanan made an appearance.
Among the cheering crowds were Anne and John Geldard, who came along with the whole family to watch grandsons Daniel, 8, and Tyler, 10, represent the Beeston Broncos.
“It’s a fabulous day,” said Anne. “We are big Rhinos fans and we come to this every year. We just love it.
“Rugby is a big, big part of Leeds, so it’s lovely to see the kids getting so involved. This is the start of the next generation of Rhinos hopefully!”
Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Carnegie and Leeds Rugby, said it had been a “marvellous day” and “a great community event”.
“It brings together all the community rugby league clubs in Leeds and gets youngsters engaged in the game,” he said. “Rugby league has been at the heart of the social fabric of Leeds for 120 years. This is an example of what’s going on every day.
“It’s absolutely crucial that we get more and more youngsters engaged in the game. Leeds Rugby Foundation and all its staff give that opportunity.”