New dates for our Back Onside programme

Back Onside Cohort

Launched in 2019, the ‘Back Onside’ initiative, run by Leeds Rhinos Foundation in partnership with Rugby League Cares, will begin again in April to help more men get active and improve their fitness.

‘Back Onside’ is a free 10-week course that is led by former Leeds Rhinos player Willie Poching to encourage men to rediscover the benefits of exercise in a safe and familiar environment and make healthy lifestyle choices. The weekly sessions are designed for men who haven’t exercised for a while and are looking to get fit and have fun.

Poching, who played for the Rhinos for five seasons, was part of the club’s first Championship win in 32 years back in 2004 and the first ever World Club Challenge winning side in 2005. A fan favourite, the New Zealander is aiming to inspire more people who are looking to get fit and build on the progress made by the programme’s first cohort.

“Looking back now, it’s been a fantastic adventure and a fantastic concept.. I’ve seen some physical changes in the people that have come, but more so, some emotional changes too,” said Poching.

“I’ve seen people arrive excited and bouncing through the door, when they were coming in quite nervous to begin with. I wouldn’t say they apprehensive, but maybe they were a bit anxious and about what we were going to do and about exercising again.But as the weeks went on, I saw them start to have a bit more belief which meant they were pushing themselves harder and harder and enjoying exercising again.

“Seeing where the guys are now, from where they first started, that’s the most pleasing thing for me- certainly from a progress point of view.

“The whole point of this course is about you working to your level, and I would I encourage anybody to come along and partake in the course. It’s a gradual process and we’ve had blokes of all different ages and capabilities coming down, but they’ve all had as much fun and got as much out of the programme as the others.”

Laura Buckle, Health Improvement Officer at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, added: “We’ve been really impressed with the guys involved and coming through this new Back Onside initiative with Rugby League Cares. The lads coming down each week have got involved with everything thrown their way, they’re getting back into fitness and activity in loads of different formats and having great fun.

“We’re receiving lots of feedback from those involved around looking and feeling better as a result of coming down each week, as well as them managing to make healthier changes in all elements of their lives, so we’re really proud of the role we’. We can’t wait for the next set of courses to start so that we can get more guys involved in the programme!”

The next ‘Back Onside’ course starts on 9th and 11th April, and men can choose sessions which run weekly on either Tuesday or Thursday evenings (6-7.30pm) in the South Stand Community Hub at Emerald Headingley Stadium, eligible for all men aged over 18.

To sign up now, or for more information, email

Back Onside Course Start Dates:

9th April- 6pm-7:30pm- Emerald Headingley Stadium, LS6 3BU

11th April- 6pm-7:30pm- Emerald Headingley Stadium, LS6 3BU