England captain Dylan Hartley makes a surprise appearance at rugby festival at Finborough School
England captain Dylan Hartley made a surprise appearance at Finborough School's annual youth community rugby festival on Sunday.
Arriving in style by helicopter, the England and Northampton Saints skipper watched more than 300 boys from across the region take part in a tournament involving 15 clubs and schools.
Top teams from across East Anglia were in action at Finborough School for the 10th anniversary of the rugby festival.
Finborough School headteacher Steven Clark said: "It was fantastic to have Dylan with us for the morning and a great surprise to us all when he landed by helicopter.
"What really impressed me about Dylan was the genuine interest he showed in all the boys. He spoke with so many of the players, parents and coaches them and did not stop signing whatever was thrust in front of him and having photos with the teams and individual players.
"He was very approachable and a complete inspiration to these young boys who will never forget the day they met an England captain, a true talisman.”
Hartley presented the trophies and medals, commending the boys on a great day of rugby and to keep working hard and improving their game.
Norwich School won the Shield competition after gaining victories over Langley Prep School and Finborough School B, while the Vase competition was won by Southwold Rugby Club, after they claimed hard-fought wins against Barnadiston School and St Joseph's College.
The Plate was won by Langley School at Taverham Hall, after they narrowly beat New Hall School and Colchester RGS, while the Bowl was hotly contested by St Faith's School, Royal Hospital School and Perse, with St Faith's running out as eventual winners.
The Cup competition saw some great matches take place between Finborough School, Bedford School and Gresham's School, with hosts Finborough lifting the overall Festival Winners Trophy.
Simon Sinclair, the academy manager at Northampton Saints, was also in attendance and said: "The quality on show today was outstanding and I have no doubt that some of the theses players will be running out at Franklin’s Gardens in the future.”