England rugby stars George Ford, Ben Youngs and Dan Cole ring up elderly fans to keep up spirits amid coronavirus lockdown in ‘Make that Call’ campaign

Premiership rugby stars have been calling elderly fans to check up on them during the coronavirus lockdown.

England World Cup stars George Ford, Ben Youngs and Dan Cole have been catching up with fans of their respective teams to make sure they are happy and healthy with the country on lockdown due to the deadly coronavirus.

Elderly people have been told to isolate for 12 weeks to stop the spread of the coronavirus, meaning most are unable to see their loved ones.

England rugby stars have been reaching out to elderly fans during the coronavirus lockdown

England flanker Brad Shields came up with Make That Call to ensure the elderly have company

The idea – named Make That Call – was started by Premiership side Wasps, to look after fans’ mental health.

England flanker Brad Shields kicked off the project by speaking to a fan called Brian – who’s healthy at home but cannot see his grandchildren.

Shields shared a video on his Instagram page encouraging others to make the call. The England flanker said: ‘We thought how can we give back to the community. How we can make people feel less isolated in this tough time.

Shields’ England team-mates soon followed, with Ben Youngs (right) and George Ford calling

Leicester Tigers posted a three-minute clip of Youngs’ phone call with life-long fan Richard

‘We’re reaching out, and I’ve just been on an awesome phone call with Brian – one of our Wasps fans.’

And the rugby star explained that the call was of huge help to self-isolating Brian. 

‘He was really happy to get a phone call from one of us, he’s healthy,’ Shields added.  ‘The only thing he’s gutted about is that he can’t see his grandkids at the moment.’

Shields’ actions inspired numerous other England players to pick up the phone and make calls to people in the community.

Ford also took to Instagram to implore others to follow suit and call the elderly

Ford’s Leicester Tigers team-mate Manu Tuilagi also checked in on supporter Peter

CORONAVIRUS IMPACT: RUGBY

The RFU has moved to ban all rugby, including training, in England as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals and finals have also been cancelled.

The Six Nations have been postponed and could resume in the autumn. 

The Pro 14, which includes sides from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France and South Africa has been suspended indefinitely. 

England fly-half George Ford called Leicester Tigers season-ticket holder Tom – who is not allowed to leave the house for 12 weeks. 

‘I’ve just made a call to check in with Tom, and see how his family are coping in this difficult time,’ he told his Instagram followers.

‘It’s good to hear he was, and he’s coping well with being at home.’

The club posted the audio of the phone call Ford made to a surprised Tom.

Tom said he was ‘as well as can be expected’ before the pair discussed how Ford was training and what Tom was doing while he was trapped at home. Ford’s Tigers team-mate Manu Tuilagi also checked in on season-ticket holder Peter. 

Government provisions mean that elderly and vulnerable people must stay inside for 12 weeks

The UK is currently in lockdown as the world fights to contain the spread of the deadly disease

England scrum-half Ben Youngs also made a call to a fan trapped at home, speaking to life-long rugby fan Richard.

Youngs said: ‘It was nice to have a chat with him and hear that he and his family are doing well.’

Richard was delighted to hear from England’s most-capped scrum half – who he had watched play for Leicester for his entire career.

He responded: ‘That’s very nice of you – thank you very much – we’re getting by. We’re hoping that one day we will be able to see you play again.’

The rugby calendar has also been halted as a result of the pandemic sweeping the globe

Youngs checked that Richard was being looked after. He joked: ‘You’ve seen all the best bits and you’re also with us at our worst.’

Once the rugby stars have made their call, they nominate fellow players to do so as well.

Superstars from across the Premiership have been calling elderly fans to check in on them. And they have been inspiring supporters to do likewise with friends and family.

Wasps’ Shields, who came up with the idea, added: ‘Being isolated doesn’t mean you should be alone.’

Coronavirus UK: England rugby stars George Ford, Ben Youngs and Dan Cole ring up elderly fans

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