Paul gets royal seal of approval

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It was a right royal occasion for Luton RFC director of rugby Paul Allen as he got to put Prince Harry through his paces as part of Sky Sports programme School of Hard Knocks.

The 43-year-old Luton boss, in charge at Newlands Road, is the head coach for the series and was filming at Moseley on Wednesday when Prince Harry made his surprise visit.

Paul has been working for social inclusion charity School of Hard Knocks for two years, which uses sport as a vehicle for change.

The project has been documented by Sky Sports and the show is set to air in mid-September.

He said: “Rugby is the main sport used, but we have introduced a boxing scheme as well.

“The attendees are primarily long-term unemployed and through the challenges of learning a new physically tough sport put themselves in a situation that needs them to be motivated and focused.

“The core values of rugby, teamwork, honesty and enjoyment are all key values to take into the work place.”

Allen, from Harlington, who has also played for Bedford Blues, is head coach for the charity.

On meeting the prince, he continued: “We were in a huddle chatting about the day when he joined the group and the look on the faces on the lads was priceless. I think they thought it was a lookalike at first.

“Prince Harry joined in all the sessions and was fantastic with all aspects of the day, giving the lads advice around first impressions at an interview and advice on meeting new people.

“The Prince then played in a match alongside the SOHK lads and showed he has a good rugby pedigree as well.

“It was an absolute honour to have met him and for him to spend the entire day with us and clearly enjoy it showed what a genuine man he is.”

Paul added: “We can only run these projects through funding and it’s a constant battle to secure funding and if people would like to find out more about the charity please visit our website”