Scowling Harry back in town

PRINCE Harry made another surprise visit to Rugby to teach pupils the finer points of one of the nation's favourite sports - on the field where it all started more than 180 years ago.

Shocked pupils at three of the town's schools were amazed when the Prince turned up on work experience with Rugby Union development officers on Tuesday to help coach the schools' Rugby teams.

The visit was kept secret from staff and pupils at Ashlawn School, Rugby School and Bilton Grange.

But they had no hesitation in allowing the Prince to muck in with everyone else and the teams left the field with beaming smiles.

However, the Prince's security was less than hospitable to an Advertiser reporter and photographer who wanted to capture the moment the Prince set foot on the game's spiritual home - despite allowing him to pose for pictures with the pupils.

The press had to take pictures from nearby footpaths and fields - but school officials said their decision not to allow the press into the premises was a decision made by the Prince's security staff.

Ashlawn School's head teacher, Peter Rossborough, himself a former England rugby international, said: "We were very pleased to have him here but we were keen to respect his right to want privacy."

On the day itself, he added: "They contacted us about three months ago but even the staff and pupils did not know he was coming until the morning.

"The pupils were pleasantly surprised but reacted very calmly and he fitted in straight away and just got on with it."

Rugby School's Director of Communications, Jonathan Smith, added; "The lads in the first 15 were very glad to have the Prince joining them for a game."

They played on The Close, where William Webb Ellis invented the game in 1823.

At Bilton Grange School, headmaster Peter Kirk said the rugby team got a real lift from the Prince's visit.

"Prince Harry commented on how he was impressed with the self-belief and confidence of the players and wished us well for the rest of the season."

l Last week the Prince visited Rugby High School.