Run out with ROBINSON?! #raise4matt

Yes you read that right! How would you like your child to have the chance to run out alongside Jason Robinson at Welford Road?

One of the auction lots for #raise4matt that has kindly been donated by The Matt Hampson Foundation is to make that very dream a reality! On the 21st of April two star-studded sides take to the pitch at Welford Road. The sides are already made up of legends such as Robinson, Betson, Freddie Tuilagi and MArtin Johnson and with more and more household names set to join them.

At the #Raise4Matt auction you have the chance to bid on a package that would see your child run out as the mascot on the day in front of what is set to be a big crown at Fortress Welford. as a rugby loving parent what could actually make you prouder than seeing your next generation run out with the heroes of ours. The package will also include tickets to the game for a select few and potentially a non catered box if we can make arrangements in time so you can really watch one of your proudest moments in style.

Below you will find details to the game. 

This lot will be taking bids in advance of the auction in order to allow as many people as possible the chance to bid on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Do not let this pass you by folks!

For all details on the auction and this amazing opportunity follow @raise4matt on Twitter or get in touch with Tori at




invite image

Please contact Victoria Chipp for details, you can also reach her on twitter @totti369. There will be a strict guestlist in operation on the evening and it is crucial that you express interest through the correct channels to guarantee entry.


Matt Hampson Auction March 2013

A message from Tori Chipp

I am running a BIG auction for The Matt Hampson Foundation in the lovely City of London (date provisionally Thursday March 21st) at the No 1 Sports Bar. There will be some amazing lots as well as some drinks and pro rugby players (new and old) attending. So where the help bit comes in, it would be amazing if you guys could spread the word with me. The event is going to be invite-only as I want rich people there who will spend a lot of money int he auction and donate on the night too.I am also looking for donations, it doesn’t have to be rugby associated, just auctionable, rugby based is obviously very cool with me though too. Any donation of this nature will result in an invite to the event so pop your thinking caps on and see what you can come up with.

Furthermore we will be needing some help designing the invites and a digital flyer for the event so anyone that can help with that side of things will be hot property and again will be invited to the event.
Should be a great event guys and I am already really looking forward to it please spread the word!


Please do drop me an email if you can help on

The Harsh Reality of Retirement

Now I am going to be brutally honest when I first started getting into rugby it was all about the youngsters, the showmen and of course the delectable bodies of said athletes. Then came the passion for the community, the driving force behind the game and what it really meant to all involved whether it be a fan, player, coach or the neutral that tags along to any game because they love the sport. But recently my head has been turned to what happens to the professionals once their playing careers are over.

For some it is something they can work up to, re skill and make a smooth transition into city life. For others the news is much less expected and therefore much harder to prepare for. Imagine if you will the stark reality that sometimes you are just no longer of any actual value to the organisation that pays you, and so like in many other businesses cuts are made. However in this instance it’s much harder to find a similar role where you might thrive. If rugby is all you have been doing since you left school and whether due to age or injury it is something that you can no longer do well, you may find your self in a position where there are very few options.

The more charismatic among the players may find an easy transition into the world of commentating, writing, internal club affairs or taking a step over the other side of the touch-line and becoming an agent. The more technically astute will usually become coaches and pass on their expertise. However what if you haven’t got these opportunities because lets face facts there are a lot more rugby players out there than there are Ben Kays and Austin Healeys. The other working life in business can be a very daunting place post playing career for those who have never done anything of its nature. The point in question was really first highlighted to me by Duncan Bell. He was so candid about his sudden retirement and the harsh realities of starting up his own business. The terrifying prospect that it may not all be ok in the end.

The harsh nature of this business often means there isn’t much support out there for these guys either. Of course there are the obvious places to go for advice your club, The RPA etc. But really where is the “hands on” advice and actual time that these players need hiding?

 I recently attended an event which was put on by an organisation called RUINN which is headed up by ex Saracen Hugh Vyvyan. It was a networking event that allowed city individuals in London to mix with some recently retired rugby players and see if there was anything they could do that would be mutually beneficial for each other. In attendance was Ben Woods who recently found himself out in the cold after a long-term wrist injury had ruled him out of professional sport. Having known Ben through my work at Tigers it was great to see him in a completely different environment. The networking event put him in touch with several lawyers (Ben is currently studying for his Law conversion GDL) and will fingers crossed allow him to foster relationships and work experience to make the next few years a lot easier.

My issue comes is for the boys who aren’t Cambridge graduates and haven’t got the foggiest idea what they want to do post playing career. I know there is a lot of support in clubs to help players realise what they want to do when they have finished playing but in my mind it is still nowhere near enough. Rugby clubs typically harbour great working relationships with a variety of sizes of businesses. I feel it is imperative that a player is rounded into more than a machine on the pitch but a person that can swiftly move into other areas of work when their time with the club is finished. That support network needs to be there at a very minimum so the skills needed can be developed over years as opposed to over a few weeks/months when a player gets thrown in at the deep end.

Furthermore more players need to be encouraged by their agents and clubs alike to get involved in this sort of networking events whether it is RUINN or The Rugby Business Network or The RPA. It needs to be considered valuable to the club which at a business only level it isn’t. It means players taking a few hours here and there to aid their own personal development and unless this translates into points during the game it isn’t going to draw in more fans and therefore more money. However niceties aside unless the clubs are going to pay the big bucks to set up a player for life, the players need to be set up for post playing life. I would go as far to argue that an agent should be an agent for the player’s life not just their most valuable time when they are on the field. Often by the time a player actually sees the value in these events it’s too late and they are searching for work with a barely there CV.

Arguably however it is also down to us as fans and friends. Keep a look out for those who are retiring or coming up to retirement and think if it could in any way add value to your organisation if they were to even just gain some experience with you. Rugby life is typically a well-connected industry and I think if we all looked at our companies or friends’ companies there would be a slot there that could offer those players the start to their non playing lives they need. You may think this sounds like a barbaric idea as players must have these sorts of offer thrown at them routinely but believe me they really don’t. Or even if this isn’t possible lets look at where we are spending our money. At The Stoop instead of heading for one of the chain stands head for Ollie Kohn’s Jolly Hog and Sausage. When looking at mortgage brokers go to Duncan Bell. Refer your friends to them lets help build their empire from the inside. Support the charities that supports them and eventually I hope we will see fewer players facing the harsh truth that often awaits them come retirement.

Stay tuned for news of upcoming events that you can attend!

Walk 4 Matt 2012

Today i am writing to you on more of a personal note. I have chosen to take on and be a part of the Walk4Matt 2012. This involves walking well over 110 miles from Rugby to Twickenham all in aid of the fantastic cause that is The Matt Hampson Foundation.

Most of you that are involved in rugby in even the slightest way will have heard about the inspiration that is Matt Hampson. Matt suffered a severe spinal injury when taking party in an everyday training session with England Under 20 . The scrum collapsed on his neck trapping his spinal cord and paralysing him for the rest of his life from the neck down. One of the most poignant parts of Matt’s story was when he came around in the ambulance and pleaded with the paramedics not to cut off his England shirt. Since then, Matt has established the Matt Hampson Foundation and not only been able to ensure care for the rest of his life is paid for but get involved with other that have similar injuries.

Continue reading

The Rugby Community Always Pulls Together

Christmas is always a good time to reflect and today we would like to bring you a very touching story from the rugby community.

Send Lee your messages through twitter!

All too often do we read about players that are injured badly either during a game or off the field. Yet the one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the reaction of the rugby community as a whole. The inspirational story of Matt Hampson is probably the most famous of all the incidents, a young man who is paralysed from the neck down after a scrum collapsed on his neck. Matt is one of my heroes and the work his foundation does for people in similar predicaments is to be applauded. Recently Nathan Cubitt was injured in a game and his story touched thousands and now his twitter account has 4000 followers and the rugby community has joined as one to ensure if nothing else we can keep him smiling.

I would now like to bring you the story of Lee Audis, 23. He has been playing for the Doncaster Knights rugby club since the summer, and suffered life-threatening injuries after his car came off the road on Sunday night. Gloucester fly-half Burns and 23-year-old Audis are both products of the Bath Academy, and forged close bonds during their time as team-mates at The Rec. Burns and Audis’ families are also close, and the 21-year-old Gloucester playmaker travelled to Leeds to be at his friend’s hospital beside recently.

Freddie has also set up a new twitter profile for his friend yesterday, and called on the rugby world – both players and supporters – to send goodwill messages, to boost both Audis and his family. The new profile @leeaudis is up and running, and Burns has asked for well-wishers to tweet the Doncaster half-back.

Burns explained: “He has his own profile but it’s a different address and this was just a good way I thought of making it easier for people to lend their support. I really think that could make a difference, and it would certainly give his family a lift to know that Lee is still in people’s thoughts. Rugby can be a very tight game when everyone comes together, and this is a time when I would ask the game’s fraternity to do exactly that. You don’t feel like there’s a lot you can do, but support is the key thing. So that’s why I set up the separate profile for him, so that people can get their messages of support to his family. We’ve already had some really kind words from people, and hopefully this is a good way for people who know him to send their messages.”

Burns said Audis’ injuries put rugby into stark perspective, admitting he had fought hard not to let it affect his task at Gloucester last week.

He continued: “Ever since day one at Bath Academy, we became great friends. We went on holiday together and our families are very close. Only in the summer he spent a week helping me and my parents pack up my parents’ house because they were moving, we were working on fixing the roof and things like that. It certainly puts everything into perspective. One minute everything is going really well for him, he’s secured a regular place in the side and doing well in the Championship, and then he is in hospital. When I found out last week I almost didn’t train that afternoon, but I got myself together. It’s been a shock but obviously it’s far tougher for him and his family, and I’m just hopeful he can pull through.”

So folks please follow and send your messages of support to Lee and his family, by tweeting @leeaudis.

UPDATE: Lee is now showing great signs and has had his best day yet!

Ohhh what a night!

Ladies night is long-awaited amongst the busy Leicester Tigers events teams schedule and all I can say is, what a night!

Harry Ellis, Mel, Debs and I

Arriving at Welford Road fashionably late of course I chucked my jacket into the temporary cloakroom in what I am only used to seeing as the Final Whistle. Also inside this makeshift closet were the boys all 120 of them! The room was open plan with a bar at either end, perfect I hear you cry. With 60 tables laid up with wine the girls took to their seats and nervously awaited the gents that would be serving their table. Each table was assigned two players usually a combination of senior and academy. While most of the ladies were hoping for a current member of the Elite Squad, personally I was hoping for a Tigers veteran, George Chuter because lets face it, his banter is top-notch. As the table numbers were announced roars and cheers went up when ladies received their wine waiters to “use” for the evening. And then it was getting closer to our table, 21 Dan Cole…. us next 22…. George Chuter accompanied by the lovely academy player Mitch Turner. Well that was it we had set the standard with the loudest roar and not even Castro could compete. Chutes was attentive and Mitch followed perfectly like a good young apprentice. We couldn’t have asked for anymore!

Before dinner it was announced that there was a photo booth to use with no other than Harry Ellis followed by Tom Croft, Martin Castrogiovanni and Geordan Murphy. seeking a bit of a giggle my party elected for snaps with Castro and Harry. See the results at your own risk.

Big time Castro!

 Next followed a lovely three-course meal, although I must admit I didn’t eat the dessert. A combination of wine and a certain player having the munchies stopped this. Still it was lovely food and served by a great team of staff. The boys were great again in filling up the wine glasses and were perfectly attentive, I spy a post playing career profession for a few.

Next followed the post dinner entertainment which was a sing off between Ed Slater, Niall Morris, George Chuter and Cookie from the academy squad. It was a close fought competition with Morris undeniably singing the best but our boy Chutes had the crowd on side and it was declared a draw. Next followed a surprise rendition of “La Bamba” by none other than Castro and Horatio Agulla. That was that, the floor was taken to by pretty much everyone there and there was some serious dancing to be had.

The songs were good the atmosphere was great and someone must have turned up the heat because pretty much all the academy boys found it necessary to remove clothing (Photos below). I did have to put my eyes back to where they should be however when I remembered that most of them were only about 17.

The night was a huge success and this is mainly due to the dedication put in by all, the Tigers events team are always at the top of their game and coupled with The Matt Hampson Foundation the night could not have been anything but a triumph. The most important thing that came from the evening though was knowing the money raised was going to Matt’s fantastic cause supporting others around him in similar situations. That message was underlying all the fun and I think that the evening was made more enjoyable knowing that I was drinking and being surrounded by handsome men for such a worthy cause.

So cheers to Matt Hampson and all that work and are involved in his foundation.

So now for our awards for the top five players that attended to us that evening. They are in no particular order because that would be cruel. It was a very hard decision and all the boys were great but these really stood out for me individually.

George Chuter and Mitch Turner (yes I’m allowed to make them into one person). Our fabulous wine waiters, the best we could have hoped for that you so much!

Harry Ellis. A great sport and never one to turn down a photo or a laugh, and really did give us a very special photo to take away and share with you.

Kieran Brookes. Spent a lot of time on our table and helped our boys out, especially huge credit due because he was doing the evening with his leg in a splint/cast!

Gastro (Geordan Murphy and Martin Castrogiovanni) Epic patience with us when taking photos and for those who don’t know, Castro always smells divine and Murphy gives the best “cuddles” ever!

Now this was hard a toss-up between Calum Green and Ben Pienaar. But lets face it its all for charity so both are worth a mention. Calum Green was on great form and Ben’s banter is second to none especially taking me calling him a “shit” tweeter! Sorry Ben!


I hope you enjoyed my review.


Cheers for reading!




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