MALVERN Rugby Club’s under-14 team has been awarded £2,000 by the town council towards the cost of a trip to twin town Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

The team has been invited by the town's rugby club and high school to participate in an exchange visit, the first youth group to do so since the establishment of the Malvern-Bagnères Twinning Association.

As well as rugby matches, there will be cultural activities and an organised dinner, aimed at cementing the sporting and cultural relationship between the towns and their rugby clubs.

At a recent meeting, Shaun Robinson, coach and referee, and two of the players, Seth Robinson and Isaac Flewers, gave a presentation to Malvern Town Council about the club and its activities and answered councillors’ questions.

The grant will help towards travel and accommodation costs for the touring party, which is expected to consist of about 25 players and five adults.

The club aims to match whatever grant funding they receive and will continue to fundraise over the next few months with sponsored walks, car-washing, supermarket bag packing, quizzes, horse and frog racing nights and barbecues being arranged.

Cllr Neil Morton said: "It is a fantastic opportunity for the Malvern team to play rugby against a side from one of Malvern’s twinned towns, and it will also give the youngsters the chance to learn about another culture and language, all of which would help foster alliances for other groups to visit in the future. I hope the tour will be something they all remember in years to come."

Mr Robinson said: "We're very grateful to the council for their support. I think they were impressed by the presentation that Seth and Isaac made to the meeting. The tour is something that all of us are looking forward to.

"It's our ambition to tour all the Six Nations. We've done England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and now we're going to France, so that only leaves Italy."