Rugby's Unsung Heroes

We all need heroes to inspire us. We love watching professional sportspeople taking performance to ever-higher levels. But heroes aren’t always famous.

Wherever we get to in sport, and in life, we all have someone to thank who has put time in, without reward or payment, to help us. The parents who drive us to where we need to be, the teachers who run after-school clubs, the coaches who train us on cold, dark evenings.

As official Performance Partner to England Rugby, Honda recognises the efforts made by volunteers at all levels of sport, and across society. And we’ve commissioned research that shows we’re not alone in our admiration and gratitude.

Honda’s survey of almost 2,000 British adults finds that 68% feel they were helped to achieve a dream by someone who gave up time outside work.
  • One in five of those questioned say their real-life childhood hero was a teacher, while 17% credit a sports coach and 13% a friend.
  • Almost one in five say their hero was a parent or a parental figure.

Honda surveyed 2,000 people via OnePoll.


The spirit of giving, of encouraging, is inherent in rugby, the ultimate team game in which 15 people, backs and forwards alike, have to pull together to compete. But they wouldn’t be able to do anything without the more than 100,000 volunteers who turn out week after week across England.

Laurence Danvers, a coach at Southwark Tigers rugby club, in inner London, is one of them. His wife and children get involved too.

“It’s our main family activity,” says Laurence. “As a coach and as a parent, it was important for my other half and me to not only share something with our children, but also to help them build new skills.

"Whether they end up pursuing rugby as a career or keep it as a hobby, what they learn about being part of a team such as resilience, respect, confidence and commitment – these are all things that will help them achieve their dreams." Laurence Danvers, a coach at Southwark Tigers rugby club.

These are the top five skills the people taking part in our survey said childhood heroes gave them:

  • Confidence
  • Communication
  • Organisation
  • Independence
  • Proactivity

Almost half of those surveyed said these skills have stayed with them into adulthood.



Our survey finds that Brits’ most common dream when growing up was to become a professional sports player or athlete.

Next came teaching, being a doctor and being a scientist - roles which also require the kind of drive which can be developed on the pitch. Those who go that extra mile, for no personal gain, to ensure this happens deserve all the credit for the help they provide and the confidence they instil.

As Soichiro Honda, the founder of our company, who built a global company from his workshop, once said:

“Profound belief in something allows every individual to find an immense inner force, and to overcome his or her failings.”

Honda has a hugely successful track record in motorsports and, as Performance Partner to England Rugby, is getting involved in the sport from grassroots to elite level. This will help create the next generation of world-beating rugby players, while giving communities and individuals the pride they need to achieve their potential.

"We’re all dreamers and sometimes we just need the right person in our life to inspire and guide us towards our goals." Rebecca Adamson, Head of Automobile, Honda UK