Harlequins’ star Kyle Sinckler praises HITZ scheme for inspiring teenagers across South London


The rugby programme has been rolled out to all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs.


By Ric Sumner

AFTER seeing their work first hand, Harlequins and England Under-20 prop Kyle Sinckler knows just what an impact the award-winning HITZ programme could have in South London.

The Wandsworth-born front row was one of the guests of honour at a special launch event in Lambeth earlier this month, which saw the scheme rolled out nationally to all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs.

And having met some of the young people HITZ has already helped, Sinckler insists it has the power to inspire thousands more teenagers as well.

“I think the HITZ programme is very close to my heart,” said the 20-year-old Harlequins academy product.

“Growing up in South London only a few miles down the road, rugby helped me and changed my life and I think it could do the same for younger kids as well.

“It teaches them teamwork, discipline, having that sense of family, a routine and hopefully it’s going to be life-changing for some of these kids in the HITZ programme.

“I started at Battersea Ironside RFC when I was eight or nine, I was quite an angry kid and rugby gave me an outlet and more.

“At the time I didn’t have a clue about rugby I just wanted to hit people all the time and the rest is history.

“When you’re young and angry and quite naive I thought rugby was a good outlet to be physical out on the field but as you get older you mature and you top making the same mistakes and I think the HITZ programme will teach these kids that if they do make a mistake it’s not the end of the world, keep your head up and keep rolling along.”

Delivered by Premiership Rugby and funded by partners Wooden Spoon, Land Rover, Barclays and Comic Relief, HITZ uses rugby as a tool to help improve literacy, numeracy and employability, as well as encouraging young people to be more confident, self-reliant and to live a healthier lifestyle.

Originally a pilot project in four London boroughs, the roll out mean thousands more 11 to 19-year-olds will benefit from going through the programme, and having access to the specialist HITZ officers at each club – as well as 600 Aviva Premiership rugby players and mentors and role models.

And Harlequins HITZ officer Paul Wilson thinks the scheme is vital in tackling the problem of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

“HITZ is a new venture for us at Harlequins and we’ve got to make sure we work with the community, our target is to get 40 kids per year through the programme but we have a participation programme we want to extend throughout south London so we’re looking to merge with primary schools, secondary schools and obviously further education,” said Paul.

“We will be targeting the NEETs and with the core values of our sport, discipline and respect, its about using the literacy skills and the sport skills we’ll give these young adults the confidence to go out into the workplace and display these skills.”

The award winning HITZ programme tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today – unemployment, crime and disillusionment. Delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon, HITZ uses rugby to increase young people’s resilience, self-reliance and confidence. It gives them the skills to get back into education, vocational training, apprenticeships and employment. Please visit to find out more.

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