Rugby World Cup winner Jason Leonard says the sport has a key role to play in teaching youngsters about disclipine.
The sport has had a reputation as the preserve of public school students but England Rugby is trying to break down any remaining class barriers by getting 750 more state secondary schools in the country playing rugby union by 2019.
Heston Community School is one of 100 schools to graduate this year from the CBRE All Schools programme, which was set up in 2012 with the goal of getting one million schoolchildren playing the sport.
Mr Leonard, who is president of the RFU (Rugby Football Union), visited the school on Tuesday (April 26) to see pupils put through their paces in a training session.
'Rugby in a very good place'
"Rugby has lots of values. It's about team-work, respect and enjoyment, and you also learn about discipline and sportsmanship. You make friends for life through rugby, and that's what sport's all about," he told getwestlondon .
"We have a rich tradition of public schools playing rugby union, but why should the game not be available to boys and girls in state schools?
"Rugby is in a very good place. The game's growing and the All Schools programme has played a big part in that. It's good to be here, where I've seen some very talented boys and girls today."
Heston Community School joined the All Schools programme in 2013 and rugby union is now played by pupils of all ages there.
'There were a lot of misunderstandings about the sport'
PE teacher Stuart Howkins has built strong links with Feltham RFC, and 30 students are now playing for their local club.
He is also behind efforts to get local schools competing against each other in a new rugby union league, which he hopes will begin next year.
"Today has been fantastic. We have been working tirelessly for the last three years to get our kids playing rugby," he said.
"It was tough at the start as there were a lot of misunderstandings about the sport, but we've worked hard to engage with the kids and the parents and it's really progressed. Now we have strong groups from year sevens to our year 10s who have really grasped the sport and are playing really well."
'I wasn't sure at first but then it came naturally'
Mr Leonard presented Heston Community School with a plaque to mark its achievement, and the school has been invited to a graduation ceremony at Twickenham Stadium on May 29.
Victoria Kaczmarczyk, 13, is one of many students at the school with a new-found passion for rugby, which she says is now her favourite sport.
She said: "I wasn't sure at first but then it just came naturally. You practice teamwork with all of your friends and many other skills that you can use in other sports. I'm excited to continue playing and will be joining Grasshoppers club soon."
Harlequins players visit Heston primary school
Jason Leonard's visit to Heston came after players past and present from Harlequins Rugby joined youngsters at a primary school in Hounslow.
Former Harlequins and England international Will Greenwood and current Quins players Ben Botica and James Chisholm led a training session at St Michael & St Martin Catholic Primary School in Hounslow on April 20.
Their visit was part of the Aviva Tackling Numbers sessions, a project supported by all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs which aims to make maths fun for young children.
They joined year four pupils who are taking part in the programme for a maths lesson and a tag rugby session.
Following the session, Ben Botica said he wished a similar scheme had been around when he was a young lad.
"Combining sport and maths certainly makes the whole thing more fun. I know a lot of people – myself included – struggle to recall some of the things that they learned when they were younger," he said.
"When I was a kid I used to like trying maths but couldn't necessarily make all that much sense of it.
"So I certainly think this kind of method will help the information stick by showing the numbers in a different light, and the kids have reacted really positively to us being here and working with them.
"We had a maths quiz between James Chisholm and myself – which I’m delighted to say I won – before playing a bit of tag rugby as well which has been great fun for the kids."