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24 May 2007 PR 07/73

Loughborough University American football team coach looking forward to charity match on Monday

Loughborough University’s American Football team coach Jason Scott is looking forward to Monday when his side play the reformed Leicester Panthers, which includes England’s World Cup winning rugby captain Martin Johnson, in a charity match at Welford Rd in Leicester.

The match will not only erase the memories of a tough loss to Bristol in the College Bowl but also see if his side can match up against a team that was the dominant force in the British national league a decade ago.

“I would like to say we are of a comparable standard,” Scott said ahead of the match that will aid the Matt Hampson Trust. “They’re a lot older and very experienced but we have the speed and have been playing together for a couple of seasons.

“We have been undefeated in our regular season games for the past two years and have won three national titles in our history. I think we’ll give them a good game.”

The match, organised by the Panthers’ Rex Harrison, who reformed the 1996 national league winning side, will raise money for the trust set up to help former England under-21 prop Matt Hampson, who was paralysed in a training session in 2005.

“We got a phone call from Rex who said he wanted to reform the Panthers and organise a match against us for the Trust, and we were more than happy to get involved,” said Scott.

“The Panthers were the best team around in 1996 but then disbanded after they had won the league. It was unfortunate because American football was at its peak in the UK, but I think this game could help kick-start its popularity again.

“We’re expecting about 10,000 at Welford Rd (the home of the Leicester Tigers) and to put that into perspective – they had 3,000 over the two days of the national championships for the British Bowl, so it is a big opportunity for the sport.

“Don’t forget the NFL is also hosting a regular season game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants at the new Wembley stadium on October 28 – that will also be a massive boost for the sport.”

The Panthers include several players who have returned from the U.S. especially for the game and Johnson, who used to play for the team before rugby went professional.

Kick-off for the match is at 3pm on Monday May 28. Tickets are £5 each and available from the Leicester Tigers ticket office.

– Ends –

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Notes for editors:

  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2006 National Student Survey, the University gained a top five place, with nine out of Loughborough’s 23 departments topping their subject tables. Loughborough was also placed 6th in the 2007 Times Good University Guide and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university

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