I’m Kate Marks, a first-year Blues rugby player studying history here in Cambridge, and I have been invited to go on the British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour to New Zealand as Youth Ambassador for England!
For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with all things rugby and the chance to be a part of the Lions is a dream come true!
The selection day seems incredibly long ago now, and in the excitement of the day I have forgotten a lot of the detail. But something I don’t think I will forget in a hurry was walking into the interview room to be greeted by John Spencer, the Lions tour manager and ex-England international player.
I will be travelling as one of a small group of ambassadors aged 18-21 from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, representing my country in the home of rugby that is New Zealand. We leave on the 12th June, with visits to the New Zealand Rugby headquarters, local rugby clubs and a couple of Lions matches all in the itinerary.
Whilst we are out there we aim to develop an extensive understanding of the challenges currently facing youth rugby globally and to establish a network with counterparts overseas.
These findings will then be brought back to share within grassroots rugby, visiting local schools and clubs to help with rugby development across the Home Nations, discussing our findings and spreading the benefits of rugby to help fuel participation and grow the game!
I still haven’t got over how lucky I am to have the chance to participate in this amazing opportunity! It has grown out of my long standing extensive involvement within England Rugby as Chairman of the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) National Youth Council and working in several volunteer roles within the grass roots game.
It is the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the other side of the world, be involved in one of the greatest rugby tournaments in a world, and in a country with such a deep-set sporting heritage and I couldn’t be more excited!
If you are interested and would like to keep track of our journey as we travel around New Zealand, follow us on Twitter @PickOfThePride and #PickOfThePride which will be updated regularly.
And for more info on the Lions and our group of Youth Ambassadors: