Kiwi rugby champ pays visit to Wymondham club’s juniors

All Black prop, Kane Hames referees a game at Wymondham Rugby Club during a visit. Byline: Sonya Dun

All Black prop, Kane Hames referees a game at Wymondham Rugby Club during a visit. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2016 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The whistle blows and the young players hustle for the ball, throwing everything they can into getting the next try.

All Black prop, Kane Hames referees a game at Wymondham Rugby Club during a visit. Byline: Sonya Dun

All Black prop, Kane Hames referees a game at Wymondham Rugby Club during a visit. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2016 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

There are the usual kicks, passes, shouts and muddy dives, but things are not quite the same for the youngsters of Wymondham Rugby Club – this time there is a giant in their midst.

Kane Hames, a prop with the New Zealand All Blacks and also the Maori All Blacks, was at the club today (Sunday, November 20) to help coach and inspire the children as part of a visit to Norfolk.

Mr Hames, 28, said it was great to get to know the club and was excited to hear about its plans to relocate and expand on a new site.

He said: 'The enthusiasm is always there with these kids.

All Black prop, Kane Hames referees a game at Wymondham Rugby Club during a visit. Byline: Sonya Dun

All Black prop, Kane Hames referees a game at Wymondham Rugby Club during a visit. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2016 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

'Wymondham is going to take over.'

After taking part in games against the USA, Munster and the Harlequins with the Maori All Blacks, Mr Hames has been staying with Andy Lyle, a former director of rugby at the Wymondham club.

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The pair became friends when Mr Lyle visited New Zealand in 2011.

Mr Lyle said: 'I've watched him go from getting his first professional job to now playing for the [New Zealand club] Chiefs.'

'It has been great to watch his career grow.'

Mr Hames has also made a visit to Wymondham College to coach students there during the past week.

He said he had some simple advice for anyone who wanted to boost their rugby game.

Mr Hames said: 'Always practice your skills. A lot of people get caught in habits like going for long runs or picking up weights.

'But if you keep up your skills it doesn't matter if you're big or small in this game.'

Club president Peter Barry said he was delighted Mr Hames was there to give a few pointers to the next generation of rugby players.

Mr Barry said: 'It's great for the club to have someone like Kane here.

'As soon as you say the All Blacks the youngsters know who you're talking about and what that means.'

The club now has 1,400 members, and Mr Barry said it was wonderful to see so many youngsters, both boys and girls, taking up the sport.

The club is planning to move to a new site which will allow it to have five pitches and state-of-the-art facilities.

Mr Barry said the goal was to be at the new location by September 2018, although the weather would determine how quickly the work could progress.

He said: 'We just can't wait to move to new premises.'

Do you have a Wymondham story? Email reporter Stuart Anderson at stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk

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