Ken Pisi and Ahsee Tuala are used to leading the Saints’ dressing room victory songs, but this week they brought their talents to a Northampton hospital.
The Samoan duo, both crowd favourites at Franklin’s Gardens, visited the charity’s adolescent unit after training on Wednesday and taught patients a traditional Māori haka – the war dance performed by the New Zealand rugby team before every international match.
They performed for the boys and girls of St Andrew's child and adolescent mental health service, based in FitzRoy house.
The unit cares for teenagers aged 13 to 18 with complex mental disorders, such as severe emotional and behavioural difficulties, intellectual disabilities, mental illness and autistic spectrum disorders.
28-year-old winger Pisi spoke to patients about the importance of spiritual and physical wellbeing.
He said: "Meeting all of the patients at St Andrew’s was a real pleasure for Ahsee and I.
“It’s certainly eye-opening to come down here and see first-hand some of the issues that they are dealing with on a daily basis – this is an incredibly brave and strong group.
“I’m glad we could come and share some of our experiences with them as professional rugby players, and everyone seemed to really enjoy seeing a Haka up close and learning about our culture.”
The visit got the thumbs-up from the young participants, with feedback including: “I really enjoyed it, please come back soon” and “rugby is so cool, can’t wait to start playing touch rugby in my sessions.”
Nick Rayment, who works as a physiotherapist at the hospital, said: “We’d like to express our thanks to Ken, Ahsee and everyone at the Saints for making this experience possible for the kids.
“To have that level of community outreach is just fantastic and this really made the patients’ day."