As part of Fifteen Rugby’s commitment to providing our readers with the widest ranging and best possible service, we are delighted to be able to announce SRG Elite as our kit partners.
The half term break has given us a great chance to highlight what a brilliant spectacle schools rugby is and how passionate, the players, parents, old boys, and other pupils are about it, as well as how dedicated and professional the coaches are. Your efforts and passion impress people.
To introduce SRG Elite to you, we interviewed their owner, Sam Sargeant, who tells a fascinating tale of SRG’s beginnings and where they are some.
XV: Hi Sam, tell us, how did SRG Elite start up?
SS: Hi, it all began when I had a serious knee injury playing rugby. I dislocated my knee, ripped all the ligaments, and snapped my kneecap in half. After knee reconstruction, I spent 8 weeks laid up in bed, with a full leg cast on. I then had a further 7weeks in a brace to get the bend back in my knee.
I was pretty low coming to terms with the fact I’d never play rugby again. Also, at this exact time a close rugby friend was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma cancer. Although I felt low, I couldn’t even imagine what he & his family must be going through. And actually, I was lucky to just be dealing with something so minor in comparison.
This spurred me on to do something to raise money for cancer research. My girlfriend, who is a qualified fashion designer, showed me how to design & use Photoshop. I designed a Pink Special Addition Peterborough Rugby Club cancer awareness shirt. I decided to make this limited to 15 shirts, and auction each number off via Facebook. Some went for as much as £140.00 – and in total we raised £1,100 for cancer awareness. And I’m pleased to say my friend pulled through his ordeal, and is fighting fit.
The shirt design was given to a sports company and they put the shirt into production. Which gave me the idea to take this on myself. And so SRG Elite was born…
XV: That’s a fascinating story, one that I’m sure a lot of people reading can empathise with. Had you always been interested in designing kit?
SS: As a kid I used to draw Manchester United shirts. I would sit in my room & come up with the latest shirt for Eric Cantona to wear next season.
When I was around nineteen, I got myself a drawing folder and started up again, but this time for rugby. I played rugby for 24 years and always took an interest in the latest kits, the technology being used, and inventing new add-ons to help performance.
I have never been a great artist though, so the ideas were hard to translate on to the page. So it is safe to say they were awful!
XV: They have certainly improved now, that’s for sure! Are those original ideas still going?
SS: Yes, I found myself a fantastic factory to produce my designs. Like anything there’s been a lot of samples, tweaking, and changing but the quality & ideas I had originally are all now in place.
XV: Where would we have seen SRG Elite around?
SS: Many of you will have seen the BT World Wheelchair Challenge at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park, which ITV were showing live during the Rugby World Cup. That is a sport that we have had a lot of involvement with, and we kit out the England Wheelchair 7s team.
It’s good to be involved in the grass roots level of the game too, and that is something we hope to be able to do even more by working with Fifteen Rugby. Reaching out into growing areas is always important, and we have even started to get involved in the USA, the nation with the fastest growing rugby participation, where we have kitted out Louisville RFC, from Kentucky.
In the UK we have kitted out the likes of Wisbech RFC, North Hykeham, and Peterborough Ladies, among others.
We also own a 7s Festival. We hosted 26 teams this year, and are set to expand to 40 next year, this is something that we hope will grow and grow.
XV: Thanks, Sam. Finally then, what are you hope for working with Fifteen Rugby?
SS: Well, first it is great to be able to support a company that is highlighting and promoting the brilliant rugby that is being played at school level. Clearly support for schools rugby is growing massively, and why not, the quality of play is brilliant and it is often a real throwback to a more adventurous style of rugby, and it is important to make sure that that support is sustained by helping Fifteen Rugby to continue its coverage.
It would be great to see as many schools as possible starting to wear SRG Elite kit, we believe that we have some real cutting edge technology and design in our kit and crucially we are able to deliver this quickly and to sustain that top end technology and design for all, not just at elite level.
The story of how we started can also hopefully give a bit of hope to injured players, showing that every rugby injury can have a silver lining…
You can see an example for SRG Elite’s kit on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight at 8pm tonight, where Heathens Rugby Club will be in their SRG Elite kit.
See more from SRG Elite at:
Website – http://www.srgelite.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SRGSports/?fref=ts
Twitter – https://twitter.com/SRGElite