Watch: Will Hooley and Sam Leeming on the NHS Crossbar Challenge

After launching their social media challenge, the NHS Crossbar Challenge, Talking Rugby Union’s Joe Harvey talked to the pair about the campaign.

Joe Harvey: Right, the NHS Crossbar Challenge, that has come out in the last couple of days, what was the inspiration for you guys doing that?

Will Hooley: Sam, you start that off mate, it was you that had it to begin with.

Sam Leeming: Well yeah, it sort of started with me and collaborated with Will, giving us something to do during the isolation. Obviously we know a lot of kickers, me and Will are avid kickers, love practicing, love practicing away from training, so it seemed to make sense.

I’ve got a goalpost down the way from me, just a short walk, so I have been practicing there, down from my girlfriends. That was really helpful, sent it on Instagram and Will got in touch and then said why don’t we do something good with it. Had a bit of a brainstorm, set up the fundraiser page and then I think we’re nearly at £500, so it has been good.

A lot of people getting involved, hopefully a few more get involved and we have made it all sports as well, which is kind of inclusive, something for people to do whilst they are in isolation and it’s a bit of fun as well.

JH: Of course, Will, what made you so keen to get involved with it?

WH: When Sam, sort of, put it across, I was like; brilliant. And I was there in the park, giving it a go, getting really frustrated.

SL: Getting carried away with it.

WH: Yeah, getting so carried away. I think that was one of the first messages I sent to him; mate, I’ve got really carried away doing this. And it jut sort of made me think, like, sportspeople, when it comes to a crossbar challenge, everyone is vain about it. You know what I mean? You need to hit it and there is enough people who want to show that as well on social media, so it just felt like; well hold on a minute. Whether it is like 20p an attempt, £1 an attempt, whatever it might be, get something going here for a good cause. We’re not trying to raise millions of pounds, it is a bit of fun, it goes to a good cause and I think, at the moment, that’s what is happening and it is picking up quite nicely.

JH: Who are the best participants that you have seen so far?

WH: To be fair, I think that Sam’s is up there. As he has said before, various sports, various ranges, but Sam hit one off the deck, quite literally the deck, from 45 out.

SL: The best thing is, I didn’t see your tee, so I saw yours and I thought that I had to hit mine off the deck and see how it went. I didn’t realise it wasn’t off the grass, so I just went full out.

WH: That’s more impressive, but we’ve had some other ones, like people with hockey balls, so flicking a hockey ball onto a bar. Someone with a golf ball chipped it onto a bar.

SL: A couple of my mates, today, have had a couple of golf shots that have been quite cool.

WH: It’s kind of like the more weird the better, in our eyes. Someone turned around to me yesterday and said; ‘I really want to get involved, but I don’t have a rugby ball’, I said; ‘well do you have a football?’ he said ‘no’, I said ‘do you have a tennis ball?’, he said ‘yeah, a tennis ball’. So apparently, he has been out there, literally for the last half an hour going at it. That’s all we want to try and do, create a bit of fun and money towards a good cause.

JH: That good cause is so much in the limelight at the minute because of everything that is going on, I imagine that they are going to be extremely appreciative of it, was there any personal connection for you guys wanting to donate to the NHS, other than maybe an desire to help?

SL: Just a desire to help, I think. We had a bit of a think, didn’t we Will, and it sort of made sense with everything going on at the moment. We are avid sportspeople and we can align that with, keeping fit and healthy, aligns that way, it just makes sense really.

WH: I think to be honest, yeah, there’s not like a ‘my mum works in the NHS’ or anything like that, but I think at the same time it is very documented that sportspeople up and down the country are trying to get behind the NHS in whatever way possible.

Like you just said, it is a hot topic, so anything that can be done really. I think, particularly when you realise as well, how, to be a little bit more detailed about it, how this is going to effect the sports industry massively over the next however long and the quicker it can be sorted out, the better.

I’m not necessarily saying that is going to be the words on the government’s mind, but at the same time, if the NHS can do the amazing work that they are doing to help people and to help tackle this COVID -19, it is probably going to help the sports industry as well, let alone everyone else on the planet, so they are doing a great job and it is nice to get behind it.

To donate to the cause click HERE.