INDIAN RUGBY STAR VISITS HEADINGLEY CARNEGIE

Leeds Rugby Chief Executive Gary Hetherington took time out from reflecting on the Rhinos’ astonishing Grand Final ‘threepeat’ to take part in a question and answer session at the Carnegie Cafe with Chatania Sinh.

Chait is one of India’s highest profile sportsmen, a founder member and former captain of the Rugby Union national team and a prime mover in the Commonwealth Games which is scheduled to be staged in the country next year. He is at the centre of developments in both Union and Rugby League there.

He took time out of his busy match official exchange programme to deliver an inspirational talk to Leeds Met students and assembled dignitaries in an event hosted by the ‘Connecting Communities’ branch of the Leeds Rugby Foundation.

The presentation was organised by Connecting Communities Manager Ikram Butt, the first Muslim rugby international in either code; David Braham, International Director of Leeds Met chairing the meeting.

"Chaitania is an outstanding representative for the values and ideals that the Connecting Communities programme stands for and provided plenty of food for thought for those in attendance" Ikram commented.

"We were delighted that Chait was able to take time out and visit the Headingley Carnegie Stadium and engage with the wider community. He is quite unique in the sense that he has been very successful as an international rugby player and business entrepreneur and he has important connections in Bollywood, so has the profile to make a real difference."

Chait was the second in a series of talks that Connecting Communities are organising, after Bollywood star Rahul Bose, with the aim of bringing high profile individuals from the world of sport, education, entertainment and business to the famous stadium to inspire and raise aspirations, particularly for the BME community.

Among the items discussed was the potential of developing rugby league in India with a dual code operation like Leeds Rugby and the British Asian Rugby Association, also headed by Ikram Butt, taking a lead role.

An open invitation was issued for the club and male and female Leeds Met Carnegie Student sides to play in India.

After the talk, Chait and Gary Hetherington exchanged momentoes, with a Leeds Rhinos shirt winging its way back to India and a plaque being given to the club in recognition of their efforts.