Scott Quinnell and Will Greenwood talk about the new series of School of Hard Knocks

Last Updated: 04/09/13 12:46pm

School of Hard Knocks preview

School of Hard Knocks(SOHK) returns to Sky Sports 2 HD on Thursday as Scott and Will head to the gritty streets of Glasgow looking for new recruits.

The hard-hitting series is in its sixth season and goes into areas of relatively high unemployment, looking to turn a group of young men aged between 18-40 into a rugby team. Over the course of two months Scott and Will teach their students how to play rugby as well as building their confidence and self-esteem, giving them some life skills to find jobs and change their lives.

"School of Hard Knocks is not about rugby," explained Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell.

"Yes rugby is the catalyst to what we do, but this is about them understanding how much better and how much richer their lives can be. What we do, what Sky has done over the last six years is take this to the masses.

"It was wonderful; the turnout we got up in Glasgow was just incredible - especially as none of them had played rugby before - I think there was one who had played a bit at school - but the turnout from day one was superb and the drop off was less than we had ever had. The commitment from the guys was exceptional.

"Glasgow is a tough city but it is no tougher than London or North Wales - you can go anywhere in the country and find people who are struggling, where there are a lack of jobs."

Both Will and Scott are proud of what the show has achieved and say that the future and welfare of their students becomes very personal to them.

"It affects us a lot but we keep in touch with these guys and continue to help them as much as we can," explained Greenwood.

"It's a family and what I like is that the boys from Glasgow are talking to the boys from Tottenham who are talking to the boys from Croydon. That is wonderful because they understand that they are not all on their own. There are a lot of programmes who are utilising the goodwill off the back of the Olympics. Clubs and communities are running some fantastic programmes and we are doing our little bit. We know have a SOHK charity which won a Beyond London legacy award from Boris Johnson.

"The vast majority of the people from SOHK are working full-time and I am off to Philadelphia next week to talk about SOHK to an American contingent including Brian Dawkins, the defensive tight end legend from the Philadelphia Eagles. I think everyone understands the importance and the value it can bring.

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"In rugby you do not do it on your own. The key to rugby is the different shapes and sizes. When I played with Scott I utterly relied on him to do a variety of jobs on the field and vice versa. It's the same in SOHK, these guys find themselves on a journey in life where they are not finding much help- suddenly the find a camaraderie and a bond. From that they grow as individuals and feel that they belong to something."

Privileged

Scott agrees with Will about the importance of different programmes but says there are still people who are falling through the cracks.

"A lot of the programmes, like Sky Sports Living For Sport looks at school children, which is vital and does a brilliant job. But we cannot forget those people who have left school, those who are a bit lost and have nothing to aim for. Those who have lost their self-confidence and their self-esteem to sell themselves.

"A lot of these guys have never had an arm thrown round their shoulders - they have never been asked what is wrong? How can we help you? In the eight week programme it is breaking their barriers down and allowing them to become better people and allow them to show their true spirit and their true worth.

"Through rugby Will and I have been very privileged to have got what we have got -I am not talking about monetary value, but I am talking about experiences, about friendship, about opportunities. We are lucky enough to convey that to the other guys and hopeful give them opportunities as well.

"It's one of the best and most inspiring things that we do - not just from us to the boys, but from the boys to us as well. It's a team effort and every series we do we change as a person which is testament to the guys we meet."

The new series of School of Hard Knocks starts on Thursday at 10pm on Sky Sports 2 HD.