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Prince Harry shows off his rugby skills during South Africa visit

1 December 2015
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Prince Harry kicked off his shoes for a game of barefoot touch rugby at the Sharks Rugby club in Durban on Tuesday morning. Days after his team lost the annual Sentebale Polo Cup tournament, the 31-year-old royal was once again on the losing side as his team managed just two tries against five from the side fielded by former Springboks captain John Smit.

The Prince was in high spirits despite being on the losing team; when asked if he had enjoyed the game, Harry replied: "Yes, but his lot were much better than my lot."

PrinceHarry © Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry played a game of tag rugby in Durban

After pausing to have a good look inside the 'jaws' of the club's mascot Sharkie, real name August Phili, Harry got his own back by teasing John Smit, a 2007 World Cup winning hooker about South Africa's defeat to rugby minnows Japan in the England 2015 competition.

Former Saracens star John, now CEO of The Sharks, said: "As soon as I mentioned the World Cup he mentioned Japan, so we didn't talk about it anymore."

Describing the royal visit as a "privilege", he added: "To have him here, to see how humble he is, it's a big deal to have him here.

PrinceHarry1 © Photo: Getty Images

Harry was in high spirits despite being on the losing team

"He comes across as such a good bloke. It's good for our kids, who come from some pretty rural areas with not much to their names to meet someone like him."

On the second day of his official visit to South Africa, Harry was visiting the "Shark Tank" to hear more about the South African Rugby and British High Commission Rugby Exchange Programme, which gives opportunities to players and coaches from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience playing the sport in a different environment, climate and culture.

Each year, 12 under-21 players and two coaches from across South Africa are placed with clubs in Britain including Saracens, Gloucester and Sale Sharks.

The 31-year-old, who was the honorary president of England Rugby 2015, also heard how the Cell C Hotspots Programme is helping to find talented players among younger children at grass roots level.

Harry's visit to Durban will continue with a visit to the Surfers Not Street Children programme, which also uses sport for social development.

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