Rugby turned my life around

London Irish prop Halani Aulika was fortunate enough to turn his life around through rugby and believes Premiership Rugby's award-winning HITZ programme can help young people do the same.

Rugby may be the hook for youngsters to get involved but the educational outcomes and positive progressions – vocational training, apprenticeships and employment – are a key aspect to the success of the programme.

The scheme aims to get 9,000 young people involved over the next three years and engage 1,500 people on study programmes.

And Aulika is convinced rugby's ability to break down social barriers, plus channel frustrations positively on the field of play, makes the sport the perfect vehicle to drive change around the UK.

"The HITZ programme is a great idea because rugby can change lives,” said Aulika. "I know with myself I grew up back in Tonga and there were kids getting in trouble and who don't go to school but they come to rugby and know they could get a life out of it.

"I tried to make a name for myself in rugby and help my family and that is the reason I bought myself into the sport and now it is my love.

"It helped me change my life because I met people and had good role models to look up to and as a professional rugby player hopefully little kids can learn from me and I can talk to them and give them advice.

"If I wasn't a rugby player I would probably still be working in a factory at a steel company but with rugby I am always learning more skills and life is great.”

HITZ, backed by Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon, will now be rolled out in all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs and London Irish Head of Community and Corporate Social Responsibility Ben Lee insists having the chance to introduce more young people to the scheme is a real boost to the club's surrounding communities.

"We are working with our communities where there is a real need for it locally and I think we have seen from day one that the HITZ project is a real success,” said Lee.

"We have seen guys who are 13 when they join the project and now they are adults giving back to the communities in which we have invested in the early years so the improvement has been huge.

"Their long-term development is there to see. We have really strong core values that go through everything we do and we are transferring that to young people who don't have those values at home or in education.”

To watch a video from the launch, click here.

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 hitzrugby.com to find out more.

  • Match Day
  • Events
  • A League
  • Community

© 2014 London Irish

The Avenue
Sunbury on Thames
Middlesex, TW16 5EQ
Telephone: 01932 750 100
Email us |
Bookmark this page

Digital Ink Internet Ltd, London Irish Web Site and CRM Partner

Website design,
programming,
hosting, CRM
and email marketing
Digital Ink Internet Ltd