They might have fallen just short in last season’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final, but Exeter Chiefs were the toast of the 2019 HITZ Awards, claiming three of the four prizes on offer.
HITZ, run in partnership with official education provider SCL, is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, with the help of its funders Land Rover, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief, works with more than 2,000 14-18-year olds across England every year.
The hard work put in by countless individuals up and down the country was celebrated at the 2019 HITZ Awards, a glittering London ceremony at the BT Centre that saw the likes of World Cup winner Tamara Taylor in attendance, as well as past and present Gallagher Premiership Rugby stars such as Ugo Monye and Harry Mallinder.
Also in attendance was Exeter Chiefs’ Phil Dollman and he watched on as inspiring youngsters from his club took home three prizes out of four, with the other being won by Northampton Saints duo Douglas Ferguson and Melvyn Hayward.
“It was an incredibly proud evening for Exeter Chiefs, and it was fantastic to be a part of it,” said Dollman.
“If I am being honest, I didn’t necessarily know the guys and their stories before the night but hearing them talk and go on stage was really inspiring.
“And the whole evening was special. To hear about the wide-ranging effect Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme has had on all walks of society is fantastic and it really was an eye-opening evening.
“I know that HITZ is now in its 11th year and long may it continue – it really is doing some great work.”
The 2019 HITZ Award winners:
- Rugby Ambassador Award, supported by Land Rover – Billy Duffy (Exeter Chiefs)
- Academic Achiever Award, supported by SCL – Cameron Whitehead (Exeter Chiefs)
- Champion Award, supported by Comic Relief – Douglas Ferguson and Melvyn Hayward (Northampton Saints)
- Young Achiever Award, supported by Wooden Spoon – Josh Screech (Exeter Chiefs)
In addition to rewarding five outstanding individuals, the 2019 HITZ Awards also saw past HITZ participants attend as the programme enters its second decade of success.
The first ten years saw more than 15,000 learners engage with the programme with 81% progressing on to education, training or employment since the inception of the HITZ Learning Academy.
The HITZ programme plays a central role in Premiership Rugby’s ‘Plan To Improve A Million Lives’ and we congratulate all those who were shortlisted for this year’s Awards.
Keep up to date with all the action at @HITZRugby and join in the conversation using #HITZAwards and #ImproveAMillionLives