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Leeds students to stage rugby clash in memory of young cancer patient whose university career was cut short

Matthew Huggett

Matthew Huggett


By Leah Waller

A Leeds Trinity student who died after a six month battle with cancer will be remembered by fellow peers in a charity ‘clash of the codes’ rugby match on Friday.

Matthew Huggett, from Essex, was just 21 when he died in December 2013 after being diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, which prevented him from completing his sports journalism degree.

Matthew’s dad, Steve Huggett, 54, said: “He would absolutely love it because he was fanatic about sport.

“Rugby was his 100% passion, any rugby match anywhere he’d be watching.”

Matthew was training at Leeds Trinity to become a national rugby correspondent before he died.

His personal tutor Dean Naidoo, 39, believes he would have succeeded.

He said: “I just knew, with that kind of passion, he was good enough to one day achieve his ambitions, he was filled with stats and interesting little anecdotes about the sport.

“Matthew lived every day to the fullest, that’s why it’s important to remember him through this memorial match.”

The second Annual Huggett Memorial Cup kicks off at 4pm on Friday at Yarnbury Rugby Club and will feature the university’s rugby league and rugby union sides in a bid to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

A league vs union clash is so rare that even the Rugby Football Union, the governing body for Rugby Union in England, will be there to watch.

Both teams believe that their codes are better and aim to prove it during the game, but one thing they do agree on is the importance of the event.


Matthew’s best friend, Nathaniel Whitney, 21, from Harrogate, believes Matthew would be ‘touched’ and ‘honoured’ that there is a rugby game in his name.

He said: “Matthew was one of the nicest people I have ever met, he was always someone everyone felt they could turn to.”

Organiser Sarah Todd, 27, from Yeadon emphasised the significance of keeping the game local.

She said: “We didn’t want to take it away from the area, ideally we’d have liked to have the game here at the uni but the pitch is waterlogged due to the recent wet weather.

“We want as many people, staff, students to show their support, we don’t want it to take it away from being about Matthew, that’s the most important thing.”

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