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  1. ITV Report

A hug for Prince Harry in Luton to boost playing rugby in schools

The Duke of Sussex giving a high five to 11 year old Esther Akiora during a visit to Lealands High School in Luton. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire/PA Images

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is in Luton helping increase the number of schools playing the sport of rugby union.

The Duke is visiting Lealands High School where he's meeting students and coaches from five local schools.

The visit is part of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) All Schools programme aimed at introducing the sport in 750 additional schools and Lealands is the 750th school to join the scheme.

The RFU wants players to move from the school game to local rugby clubs.

The Duke of Sussex is hugged by 11-year old Zara-Jess Gudza during a visit the Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme at Lealands High School in Luton. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire/PA Images
  • Watch the moment 11-year-old Zara-Jess Dudza got a hug from Prince Harry
The Duke of Sussex poses for a photograph during a visit the Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme at Lealands High School in Luton. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire/PA Images

During the visit 60 students are taking part from Lealands High School, Challney Boys School, The Chiltern Academy, Lea Manor High School and Stopsley High School.

Prince Harry has been patron of the RFU since 2017 taking over the role from his grandmother, the Queen.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Liz Summers

The Duke was watching schools taking part in skills sessions and playing mixed touch rugby matches.

It's hoped the programme will help increase student activity levels as well as improve behaviour and attendance.

Prince Harry has been patron of the Rugby Football Union since 2017. Credit: Doug Peters/Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

As a passionate supporter of the sport and the benefits it can provide for young people, Prince Harry regularly meets with rugby volunteers and students taking part in RFU All Schools.

The Duke trained as an Assistant Development Officer with the RFU as part of his gap year in 2004.

Once qualified, he went out to schools and clubs around the country assisting community rugby coaches to teach the game to young people.

Prince Harry with England coach Eddie Jones during a training session at Twickenham in 2018. Credit: Adam Davy/PA Archive/PA Images