Saturday, December 8, 2012
Former England international Paul Sampson and his TV presenter wife Kirsty Gallacher are set to be special guests at West Norfolk’s home game this afternoon.
The pair attended Wests’ players’ lunch last year - an annual December event at Gatehouse Lane - after taking in some Greene King Eastern Counties Division One action.
And they are set to do the same again today when Nigel Richardson’s side welcome second-placed Ipswich YM, weather permitting, to their North Wootton home.
Wests’ boss Richardson said: “They came last year, were very sociable, and loved what was a fairly relaxed day for them. It’s great they’re coming back.
“Paul gave a talk while Kirsty posed for pictures and then they both watched our game. Paul said he missed the grassroots aspect of rugby and that’s what we’re all about at West Norfolk. We’re a very sociable club, we like a sing-song, and enjoy an old-fashioned style of playing rugby where we all have a meal after the game.
“The guys always give 100pc so we won’t focus too much on putting on a show for them in the team-talk. The players have got to focus on their own games.”
Sampson, who was a regular for the England Sevens side and made three caps for the country’s senior side, also played for Bath, Wasps and London Welsh during his career. The flying full-back retired in 2011 and married his Sky Sports News presenter partner earlier this year.
Wests’ were without a game last weekend but did play a midweek friendly against an RAF Marham side which they won 15-12.
Richardson’s troops - who have slipped to eighth in the table - could be boosted by the return of almost fit-again hooker Chin Newton-Walters but Wests’ boss’ son Jake is missing through work commitments.
Richardson said: “We’re always on the lookout for new players but the Marham match was a good chance to look at some of the junior lads and the fringe first-team players.
“It was a bit of a confidence booster because it was a tough game. There’s no such thing as a friendly in rugby. Today will be another tough test. “We’re hoping to have a strong side but we know we’ll be in for a game. Ipswich are travelling well and play a similar style of rugby to us, so we’ll be looking to give them a good match.”
West Norfolk’s Under-13 team will play their annual match against a ‘Barbarians’ side made up of players from local schools tomorrow morning (11am). Sampson will be presenting the trophy to the winning team in a match sponsored by Malletts Solictors.
CEO Richard Mallett stated: “We are very proud to be part of what has become an annual event. The game is a great opportunity to introduce new players to the club.
“At the same time we are also delighted to be supporting West Norfolk by sponsoring the U8, U10 and U14 teams and look forward to following their success throughout the season.”
Wests’ game against Ipswich YM is also being sponsored by Malletts.