IT’S not every day a youngster can say they tackled an international rugby star to the ground.
But that’s what one of the pupils at the Harbour School can boast after a visit from South African Rugby Union international Thinus Delport.
Thinus, who also played more than 100 times for Worcester, visited the Tipner school as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme.
He is the sixth star to come to the school under the scheme, which has also seen London 2012 hockey bronze medallist Alex Danson, multiple Paralympic medallist blind runner Tim Prendergast, and boxer Darren Langley drop by.
The school takes in pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, and has set up the programme to help inspire the youngsters.
Thinus took part in a whole school assembly before running a couple of training sessions with the youngsters.
Andy Broadhurst, the school’s sports mentor, said: ‘He had them doing some rugby drills, and then he was letting them tackle him. One did actually manage to put him to the ground, but it was from behind when he wasn’t quite ready. He just had them all running into him.
‘They absolutely loved it, they really responded to it and spending time with an athlete like that.
‘Someone like this does inspire them make more of themselves.
‘A lot of the athletes have got good stories to tell about how they grew up, like Thinus – he moved to Johannesburg and took up rugby to try and fit in.
‘The pupils were asking him a lot of questions throughout the day, like what’s your worst injury? And how have you found it since you retired?
‘He was more than happy to answer them and sign pictures for them.’
The pupils who took part were aged nine to 11, and they will be working towards their sports leaders level one qualification.