JUNIOR rugby players today embarked on an international adventure with the support of a local company that believes in the power of grass roots sport to shape young lives.

Darlington Rugby Club’s Under-15s squad are travelling to Eemland Rugby Club in Amersfoort, in The Netherlands, for the International Youth Rugby Festival, featuring teams from all over Europe.

The 22 youngsters on the Easter trip will be playing four matches and, depending on their results, they could then either play in the final or a playoff for third place.

The trip is being supported by Newlands Group, which has its head office in Darlington, and has a growing portfolio of healthcare, recruitment, education and property businesses in the North-East.

The group has funded the tour shirts as well as providing other support for the trip to The Netherlands.

Head coach Antony Lewis said: “As well as playing in a competitive international rugby tournament, this is going to be an important life experience for the boys, and we’re really grateful for the support of Newlands Group.”

Phil Crowther, Newlands Group founder and chairman, added: “We passionately believe in supporting grass roots sport because it’s not only hugely beneficial to physical and mental wellbeing, but valuable in building the confidence of young people. We are delighted to be able to support Darlington Rugby Club’s Under-15s on this exciting international adventure.”

The team won the County Cup last year and were named Team of the Year at the recent Darlington Sportswinners Grand Final.

“The boys have done exceptionally well, and we’re really proud of their achievements. Now, we hope to add an international trophy to our silverware,” said Antony.