Living with the Barbarians was magic for Wand
SPALDING’S Kevin Wand lived the dream of every rugby supporter last week as he spent a week living, eating and training as the 23rd man for the star-studded Barbarians.
Wand won the MasterCard Be Number 23 competition to be part of the Baa Baas squad ahead of the MasterCard Trophy clash against England on Sunday.
That meant getting up close and personal to stars including England wing Paul Sackey, Australian legend George Smith and World Cup winner Ben Kay.
And 44-year-old Wand – who coaches at Spalding Rugby Club – revealed he was soaking up every minute as he watched Toulon coach Philippe Saint-Andre work his magic.
He said: “It truly is amazing how Philippe and Kingsley (Jones) prepare 22 players who have barely played together and mould them into a unit capable of taking on England.
“A lot of that is down to the famous Barbarians bonding session which was fantastic to witness.
“The coaching is truly on another level and I have just been trying to learn as much as possible.
“I felt like I had to pinch myself when I was throwing a ball to Ben Kay – it truly was magical.”
It was not just Wand who got to meet the Baa Baas squad as his Spalding Under 9 players were introduced to the team at London’s Hyde Park.
And Wand says his side has been infused by the famous Barbarians’ spirit.
He added: “We will definitely be trying to throw the ball around a lot more after this.
“I know they are completely different levels of rugby but there are lots of things I have picked up that I will try and pass on.
“All the kids were absolutely thrilled to meet the players, especially my son William.
“He is a huge Paul Sackey fan so it was a dream come true for him to meet him and get his autograph.”
For more information on Wand’s week, and for your chance to win other rugby prizes, go to www.benumber23.co.uk/priceless.
MasterCard are match sponsors of the Barbarians international fixtures.
STAR IN THEIR EYES: Kevin Wand and some of his young Under 9 players from Spalding Rugby Club rub shoulders with England wing Paul Sackey.