A chance encounter on the sideline of the French Gendarmes Vs The Gardai on the eve of the Ireland France 6 Nations led to Simon Coyle eliciting an invitation with encouragement from Luke Healy for Lansdowne to represent Dublin as the Irish entrant to the Tournoi des Capitales (www.tournoidescapitales)in Paris on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of September.
Coached by Cian, “I don’t say much but was the leading AIL try scorer last season” Aherne who is a 7s officiando the boys started training mid August and quickly adapted to the faster open running style of 7s and a motley crew were selected to represent the Club.
The Squad was made up of;
Not really knowing what we were up against, early on Saturday we encountered eventual winners Toulouse, who were coached by none other than Emile “do you think I could have a picture with Conor Shaw” Ntamack we knew we were in for a fun 2 days.
The Lansdowne men had great games against Toulouse, Tiblisi, and Nairobi on Saturday and on the Sunday played spirited matches against Vilnius, Heidleberg and Geneva.
In the final game, where the Geneva side were depleted through injury, both Kevin and Charlie assumed an international career playing for Geneva, the sporting nature and attitude of the Lansdowne boys was well appreciated by all concerned.l The final day was played in the New Jean Boulin Stadium the new home of Stade Francais, a real treat for the boys and coaches.
Socially we had a great boat ride on the Seine on Friday night where we can safely say the our boys won the singing competition with Irelands Call, despite tough competition from the French who’s 3 sides Toulouse, Brive and Paris gave a stirring rendition of the Marseillaise, which never fails to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. The Scottish Borders side, Welsh Bridgend pals and the team from Buenos Aries also made good accounts of themselves.
Saturday evening was a real treat when we went to watch Jonny Sexton’s Racing Metro beat a spirited Bordeaux team in a great game at Stade Colombes.
A fantastic experience for everybody concerned and a special word of thanks to my fellow mentors John Russell and Steve Eustace who assisted Cian and I with the off pitch herding and corralling of the boys.
Overall great fun and 7s is a fabulous format for teaching the boys great handling and running skills and should be actively encouraged as a game to develop skills of youth rugby.
Finally a big word of thanks to Cian Aherne who’s coaching and motivating of the boys on and off the pitch was a pleasure to behold.
There is talk of Lansdowne hosting the tournament next year…. More of that later.
Article related to Under 14 team.