Uckfield Rugby Club coach Lucy Callingham was selected to join a guard of honour at Twickenham on Saturday.
She was one of 16 recently qualified Level 2 coaches who welcomed the England Rugby team onto the pitch in front of a packed stadium for England’s 100th game against France.
It was the first of this summer’s QBE Internationals and the coaches were invited to form the guard of honour to celebrate a milestone achieved by the QBE Coaching Club – a joint initiative between QBE Insurance and the Rugby Football Union – which has recruited and trained 2,015 new Level 2 rugby coaches.
Lucy’s coaching journey started when her university coach was unable to make a Sunday training session and she stepped up to help out.
She loved running the session and immediately asked her club chairman how she could get qualified as a coach.
Lucy joined the QBE Coaching Club to achieve her Level 2 qualification and take on coaching senior players. She is now in charge of the University of Brighton Women’s team, Uckfield RFC Women’s U15s, and Sussex County U18s, and is also a Sport England ‘College Sports Maker’ for Sussex.
Lucy Callingham said, “I was incredibly nervous before I first started coaching but got the bug after running my first session.
“It is such an honour to represent grassroots coaches in the guard of honour and welcome the England team onto the pitch.
“The QBE Coaching Club has made it possible for me to become a coach at Uckfield and helped me improve not only as a rugby coach, but as a coach in all sports.”
The QBE Coaching Club has been established to ensure the game in England has enough quality coaches to welcome new players and encourage them to stay within the sport.
England Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster said: “The 2,015 new QBE coaches will have a fundamental impact on grassroots rugby in this country. It’s a fantastic initiative and an incredible legacy to leave.”
Thanks to QBE’s commitment and investment, the initiative has increased the number of Level 2 coaches in England by 25%.
The 2,015 coaches trained through the QBE Coaching Club will positively impact 50,000 players across the country.
Over the next four years over one million hours of coaching will be delivered by QBE coaches, which if it were being paid for would equate to £20 million.
Ninety-six-per-cent of coaches work alongside other coaches, so it is expected that there will be a knowledge transfer from the 2,015 QBE coaches to over 4,000 other coaches across the country, increasing the overall impact of the QBE Coaching Club on community rugby.