See what happened when Sam Tomkins teamed up with Boots 'n' All for Sky Sports Living for Sport
Last Updated: 15/08/13 12:40pm
Sam Tomkins: making the switch from stadium to school
Sam Tomkins teamed up with Boots 'n' All and Sky Sports Living for Sport for a new mini-series that's different class.
The Wigan and England international transferred his inspirational form from the pitch to the classroom in 'Sam's Team', a show that aimed to re-engage pupils in education through sport.
We followed Sam as he entered two schools to meet young people having difficulties in areas such as discipline, attendance and low self-esteem, and attempted to build a rugby league club.
Together with Sky Sports Living for Sport - a free secondary schools initiative run in conjunction with the Youth Sport Trust that uses sport stars to increase attainment - Sam helped the pupils tackle a range of issues head on.
He aimed to build a squad of 20 players supported by six media officers, six marketing people and two assistant coaches - as well as two kit people - to show that sport can open the doors to many opportunities.
But did the pupils buy into his vision - and were they able to form a team capable of winning a competitive match against another school? Carry on reading to find out...
Sam's Team Archive
On the eve of the big game, the students enjoy a far-from-smooth final training session and an impassioned speech from Leeds legend Jamie Peacock, while Sam ensures everyone knows what is expected of them on match day.
Nerves are frayed the following morning, but under the guidance of skipper Isaac, the St Catherine's Trinity Hawks form a formidable unit and manage to overcome opponents North Halifax Grammar - much to the delight of Sam!
TV producer and presenter Andi Peters gives the marketing team some tips on how to make as much money as possible on game day. After a quiet start, the pupils come up with a host of ideas - many of them involving Sam...
Afterwards, Tomkins gathers the players in the classroom so that they can run through tactics ahead of the game with North Halifax Grammar - and he also allows the students to decide what positions they would like to fill during the big match.
Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield gives the team advice on how to carry themselves off the pitch and then, after a rigorous examination of the players' skills, reveals who will be the side's goal kicker.
Plus, the marketing department gather the pupils in the assembly hall to encourage them to buy tickets for the big match - but warn them that they must maintain their behaviour in order to attend.
After an enforced two-week break, Sam is back at school hoping to see an improved attitude from some of the pupils who are falling short of expectations and misbehaving.
Sam's message to the students is clear - it's time for everyone to knuckle down and prove they are up to the challenge - and he takes the team through some new move and is encouraged to see a sharp upturn in performance.
The big day is finally here as the team set off to watch their first Super League match. Hopes are high for a good performance from Sam and his Wigan team-mates against Catalans and the Warriors don't disappoint.
There's also the chance for the media and marketing teams to attend the post-match presser and pose a few questions to Shaun Wane - but what did the squad learn and can they put those lessons into practice?
The team are thrown into full contact for the first time as Sam introduces them to the art of tackling. And while the players are getting to grips with one another, we find out how the kit men are getting along with their role, too.
After tackling practice Sam moves on to some skills but is not impressed with the team as the drop ball after ball. Will he be able to get them back on track in time for the big match?
It's a huge day as the marketing and media teams 'go public' by hosting a news conference to help generate ticket sales, and the pupils get to see the kit they designed fresh off the production line.
Some big decisions lie ahead: who will make the presentation and which members of the media team will carry out the all-important interviews? But can the chosen few handle the pressure?
The team goes on the road for a very special trip to the DW Stadium where they get the opportunity to watch Wigan train and pick up some tips on how best to maximise their performance.
Then it's indoors to discover how Sam and his team-mates get themselves in the best possible shape and to see see how different aspects of the club operate, including the marketing department.
Sam's Team really starts to take shape thanks in no small part to a special visit from 2004 Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell, who gives the squad an insight into the barriers he's had to overcome to achieve success.
"It was a gripping speech," said Sam, with his thoughts fixed on the 2013 Rugby World Cup. Find out exactly what enthused Sam - and how Darren tries to make the team quicker out on the pitch.
Curriculum leader Paul Brogie explains the positive impact the scheme is having on the participants, while the entire group gather to think about how they can promote the big game and put their marketing skills into practice.
There's also an opportunity for the team to get out onto the field and bond with a little bit of old-fashioned hard graft - and with Sam missing in action, that means there are some vacancies in the coaching department!
Sky Sports News presenter John Davies gives the media team some insights into dealing with the pressures and demands of working in journalism, including, interviewing high-profile stars and getting up for work at 2.30am!
Join John and the team as they practice different scenarios and start getting to grips with interview techniques. Meanwhile, Sam calls the team together for their first training session...
It's time to get creative as the search begins for youngsters who want to promote the club, design the kit they will play in when the big match rolls around and come up with the team name.
But first it's time to get all of the students who are going to be part of the project together and find out about their strengths and weaknesses. And be warned - anyone who fails to attend classes will lose their place...
It's back to school for Sam as he meets the pupils for the first time and finds out about the difficulties some of them are facing. The recruiting process begins as he outlines his vision to build a fully functioning Rugby League club.
Plus, find out what life was like for Sam at school and how rugby taught him discipline and how to respond to authority.
For more information on Sky Sports Living for Sport - including how to nominate your school to take part - simply visit the website.