Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves players in fund-raising tribute to ex-Leeds Rhinos academy star

The foundation set up in memory of former Leeds Rhinos academy player Nick Smith will receive a boost from three young Super League prospects next week.
Riley Dean, Morgan Smithies and Amir Bourouh.Riley Dean, Morgan Smithies and Amir Bourouh.
Riley Dean, Morgan Smithies and Amir Bourouh.

Smith was a member of Leeds’ 1998 Academy Championship-winning team, alongside Rhinos’ current director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

He went on to play professionally for Sheffield Eagles, but was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) aged just 38 and died in 2017.

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Now a trio of players from his former amateur club - Siddal, in Halifax - are planning to run 48 kilometres in 48 hours to raise funds for the Nick Smith Foundation.

Wigan Warriors’ Amir Bourouh and Morgan Smithies, both 19 and 18-year old Riley Dean, who plays for Warrington Wolves, will take on the challenge next Monday and Tuesday, splitting the distance into three or four runs on both days.

The fund-raising effort will take place in full compliance with social distancing guidelines and government rules.

Bourouh said: “We’re all proud to have grown up playing for Siddal and everyone who pulls on the blue and white shirt is always part of the club’s family.

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“Nick was a Siddal legend and even though we never played alongside him, we know the impact he had and the passion he had for rugby league.

“His death touched everyone and we are determined to help ensure the legacy the Nick Smith Foundation is building in his name can continue.

“We hope as many people as possible will donate whatever they can to support us and help the charity’s aims.”

Stephen Naylor, Smith brother-in-law and chair of the foundation, said: “Siddal ARLFC has been a huge source of support for all of us in Nick’s family over the past few years and their fundraising efforts to help the charity have been nothing short of incredible.

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“We are so grateful to Amir, Morgan and Riley for choosing to support us with their 48 kilometres in 48 hours challenge.

“Their efforts will make a real difference to the work we are able to do in Nick’s memory and help ensure his legacy lives on.”

The foundation supports research into MND, the illness which Rhinos’ reserve team coach Rob Burrow was diagnosed with last December.

It also ensures there is more help for those diagnosed with the condition, supports children having to face the death of a parent at a young age and encourages children to take up rugby league.

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It has raised more than £100,000 since being founded two years ago.

Donations can be made though www.nicksmithfoundation.org.uk/4.

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