Bath Rugby legends David Flatman and Duncan Bell put their friendship to one side recently at their old stomping ground - all in the name of charity.
As part of Bath Rugby Foundation’s men’s health programme, Move like a Pro, Duncan and David went head to head in a ‘Flats v Bell’ touch rugby game. The programme, now six weeks in, sees local men who want to improve their health and wellbeing taking to the rugby field and learning how to improve their diet, lifestyle, and speaking up about mental health issues.
The session started with warm-ups and stretches, giving Flatman and Bell the chance to size up their potential team mates. The groups were split into two and training commenced. The captains prepped their teams before battle commenced. Team Bell took an early lead but were soon surpassed by Team Flats. After 45 minutes, Team Bell were the victors, winning 10-7.
Duncan Bell is ambassador of the national Move like a Pro programme funded by Premiership Rugby and the Movember Foundation. He forged a successful rugby career as a front row forward, playing for Bath for nine years and gaining five caps for England. In 2012, as he approached retirement from the game, he made the bold decision to speak up for the first time about the depression and anxiety that had tainted his life for over a decade.
David Flatman, ex-England and Bath Rugby prop said: “Duncan and I both know that once you hit your late 30s early 40s, it’s easy for the only exercise you do every day to be getting up off the sofa to find the remote. So we’re both really behind Move Like a Pro. The atmosphere is brilliant, they’re a top bunch of lads and it was great to hear their stories”
Duncan Bell, ex-England and Bath Rugby prop said: “Move Like a Pro is such a fantastic programme. Since the launch six weeks ago I’ve seen a massive difference in both the weight and the attitude of the participants and that’s brilliant to see. I’ve even shifted 20kgs myself! This programme has given me the kick I needed to get moving. I get a lot out of coming along and coaching the guys – they’re a brilliant bunch – and of course, Team Bell were the victors! Couldn’t be happier with that.”
Monday’s match marked the halfway point in the 12-week course. The participants have been developing their rugby skills as well as looking at topics designed to improve their health such as sugar content in food, portion sizes and exercise programmes that you can do anywhere, including the comfort of your own home. They are now starting to see the benefits of this on their everyday lives.
Paul Lodge, participant on the Move like a Pro programme, said: “Like a lot of overweight and unfit people, I suffer with snoring. As a result, I am undertaking a sleep study with the respiratory clinic. At my recent check-up I was pleased to see that since starting the programme both the duration and intensity of my snoring has decreased significantly. When we speak about fitness, diet and mental health, the programme is working for me. I have lost weight, I am eating better food, being more active and the big thing for me, my wife and I are both sleeping better. This is potentially a life-changing programme for me.”
Gareth Williams, participant on the Move like a Pro programme, said: “I've lost half a stone and Bath Rugby Foundation can take credit for that. Without starting the training I wouldn't have bothered with losing weight. It has changed the way I think about food. What goes in must be burnt off. I love the fact that I can tell my boys that I've been to rugby training and feel as though I'm making progress. What I need to remember is that I can’t do what I used to be able to ...yet!”
The programme will be relaunching with a second cohort of men in six weeks' time. To sign up, visit www.movelikeapro.co.uk