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Last Updated: Saturday August 30 2008 10:39 GMT

Abs takes on rugby league for Sportsround

Abs becomes a Hull FC fan, for a day

So, for my first week on Sportsround I thought the production team might take it easy on me... I thought wrong!

I was off to Hull ahead of the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final. This would be my first ever experience of the sport. A quick-thinking, hard-hitting sport that requires a lot skill, speed, and strength.

Now I'm not the biggest of chaps, 5ft 11 inches tall, and 12 stone. So when I watched a Rugby League game on the telly at the weekend to see what I was letting myself in for I was horrified to see how big the guys from the Super League were.

I was met at the station by a guy called Nick, who was the coach of East Hull under 12's, and he had three members of his team with him - Brad, Conner and Jack.

I had to be ready to play!

It would be their job to teach me everything I needed to know ahead of my training session with the East Hull men's team.

Our first stop was the KC Stadium, the home of Hull FC - the rugby league team.

It's also where Hull City - the Premier League team - play their games as well, and it really is a fantastic setup. It holds around 25,000 people and cost somewhere in the region of 44m to build!!!

We took a quick tour of the pitch, the changing rooms and the dug-out, then Brad, Conner and Jack talked me through some of the core skills I would need to become a rugby league player.

These included things like passing, tackling, and the side-step. We then practised these moves pitch-side at the KC Stadium.

Abs becomes a Hull FC fan, for a day
Abs doesn't look too sure about becoming a Hull FC fan
After my crash course in playing the game, the lads taught me how to be a true Hull FC fan, which involved loads of singing. Some of the songs were easier to learn than others and our four angelic voices could be heard echoing around the ground.

Brad, Conner and Jack weren't done with me just yet either!!!

They then proceeded to dress me up in a Hull FC wig and handed me a flag and a foam hand. I felt ridiculous, but the boys convinced me otherwise and we headed out into the city centre for a spot more singing.

Getting behind Hull FC

Our mission: to rustle up as much support as possible for Hull FC ahead of their Challenge Cup Final against St Helens.

We ended up dragging all sorts of people into our gang for a sing and a dance, and I think it's safe to say we achieved our goal.

Abs stretches out when he tries rugby league
I watched East Hull's U12 team train hoping to pick up a few last-minute tips before I got stuck in myself. During the hour-long session I saw Brad, Conner and Jack in a completely different light. They ran around like mini-professional athletes and the skill and power they displayed was awesome. Its no wonder they've only lost two games in four years!!!

Then it was my turn! The coach of the East Hull Men's team is a chap called Lee Radford, who also happens to be the captain of Hull FC. He played his first game for Hull FC when he was just 16 - he's an absolute unit!!!

He was very upbeat about Hull's chances of beating St Helens, event though they are favourites to win their third successive Challenge Cup Final.

Worried about getting hurt

My session started with a series of sprints up and down the pitch. In between each sprint I had to lie face down on the grass, then jump up on to my feet and sprint to the next line. When he eventually did scream "STOP", I was already shattered!!!

Next we moved onto some passing exercises where I did OK, mainly because I'd played rugby union at junior school.

My highlight of the session though had to be when Lee pulled the team aside and reminded them that "they had a big game tomorrow" and that it would be a "light contact session".

Music to my ears, what a result! I wasn't going to get crushed to death by a bunch of men who were three times my size!!

I won't lie: I breathed a massive sigh of relief when I heard those words pop out of Lee's mouth and from that moment on I just tried to enjoy the session as much as I could.

What a way to start my stint on Sportsround. I'm already excited about what the team are going to throw my way next!


You can see all the action in the Challenge Cup final live on BBC1 from 1.35pm on Saturday.