As an Old Ipswichian myself, I'm absolutely delighted and honoured that Ipswich School has chosen Clear Idea Finance to be a new corporate partner and sponsor of the school’s ground-breaking rugby programme!
My family has a long-standing connection with rugby at Ipswich School, which goes back three generations and almost 75 years. My stepfather played rugby here in the 1940s and 1950s, I played rugby until 1990, and I have two young sons, one already in the Prep School, and another hopefully joining soon. And I really can’t wait to see them both on the rugby pitch representing Ipswich School in the near future.
"Rugby is such a wonderful sport, providing huge benefits for physical and mental health. There’s nothing like it for building friendships, team spirit, camaraderie and strength of character."
Jacob Ford, Head of Rugby (and brother of current England fly-half George Ford and son of Mike Ford, coach at Leicester Tigers) has made it Ipswich School's mission to become the leading rugby school in the country, and as passionate supporters of the game, we're delighted to join them on that journey.
Our sponsorship is in addition to Ipswich School’s partnership with HUDL, which has enabled a new analysis room to be opened in the Sixth Form Centre. Here pupils can meet with the sports coaching teams to review their match play and training performance in order to improve their techniques on the pitch.
It's fair to say, rugby has changed a lot since my playing days at Ipswich in the 1990s! We had a few tackle bags, maybe a plate of oranges at half-time, and that was about it. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it – but it could hardly be described as high-tech or cutting edge.
"Today’s rugby experience at Ipswich School is completely unrecognisable from when I was there and it's incredibly exciting to see the school's rugby programme pushing the boundaries of what's possible."
I've been a lifelong rugby fan, having started playing mini-rugby at the age of six in Colchester, and playing pretty much solidly through school and university. I continued playing - including a spell in Hong Kong when I was living there – until my late 30s when one of my knees gave up on me. Despite that, rugby has given me some of the best memories of my life.
From being at the World Cup Final in Sydney in 2003, to the Lions tour of Hong Kong and Australia in 2013, to touring myself and playing rugby in America, Hong Kong, Thailand, Holland, Italy and Ireland. And, of course, at Notcutts when I was at Ipswich School.
I never excelled as a rugby player, but my rugby memory bank is filled with truly wonderful experiences that have given me lifelong friends, godparents to my children, and business connections. The benefits the game can bring to everyone who plays rugby or follows rugby are, I believe, second to none.
We look forward to following the 1st XV team's progress this year and cheering them on from the sidelines!