A London Irish Community under-12 squad jetted off to France last month to represent London Irish at the Lougdunium Festival in Lyon.
Rubbing shoulders with teams such as Toulon and Clermont, the youngsters from London Irish were the festival’s top try-scorers and won four of their matches including an impressive victory over Montpellier.
The squad, which was picked from more than 200 youngsters who participated in last year’s London Irish Community Festival at Henley Hawks Rugby Club, formed the guard of honour at the Championship Play-off Final before they departed for France.
The tour aimed to give the youngsters invaluable experience of playing rugby in another country, while also developing their life experience.
Camaraderie was a key ingredient of the trip to France, which was boosted on arrival by a training session held by youth coaches from Lyon.
After enjoying a tour of Lyon’s impressive Parc de Gerland home on Saturday morning, the boys then experienced the sights and culture of the medieval city followed by the tournament kicking-off on Sunday.
In the searing 30 degrees plus heat, 16 teams took part in the round robin competition, with the London Irish team in superb form despite a slow start to their opening two games.
“The trip was a huge success and one which will live long in the memory of all who travelled to Lyon,” said London Irish Community Coach, Matthew Heeks.
“The youngsters will have gained valuable life experience during their stay in France and it will set them in good stead for the future.
“The lads played some very entertaining rugby with smiles on their faces which was great to see and I would like to thank everyone at Lyon for their superb hospitality.”
“The guys have given Max and all the boys an unforgettable experience,” said Simon Jelowitz, father of Max who plays for Henley Rugby Club.
“The environment that the London Irish Community Team created for them is something that they have never experienced before.
“It was so professionally organised and the pride that Max felt as he received his London Irish kit, held the flags for the first team ahead of the trip and ultimately played in the London Irish jersey is something that will stay with him for a very long time.”
“This project was the first of its kind undertaken by London Irish, but one that we will look to repeat in the future,” said Andy Keast, London Irish Head of Community.
“I must thank all of the parents for their support throughout the process.”
Looking for summer holiday activities for your child? Look no further than the London Irish Summer Rugby Camps. The camps are for players of all abilities from under 7 to under 14 and provide the perfect mix of technical coaching and games in a fun, safe and professional rugby environment.
To book or for more information, please visit www.london-irish.com/rugbycamps or call 01923 750 100.