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An extensive and yes exotic squad of J3s assembled at Thornfield Pitches in Belfield on a balmy Wednesday evening for a very friendly friendly fixture against a lively mob of students.  It was an open and competitive evening of robust and yet adventurous rugby, ending appropriately in a 19 – 19 draw.

Ludo Armblard (that spelling was on Tunney’s team sheet!) wiped a tear from his eye as he welcomed no less than three country men to the Lansdowne Junior rugby fraternity. (pictured below) Thibualt Fravel, Corentin Thuillot and Alexis Pavier made their welcome debuts to the club and we hope they have many more happy encounters like this.

The United Nations feel was added to by our discovery from South Africa, Johannes Van Vuuren who made an impact for all of his intermittent appearances.  And if there was ever a sign of how attached to Lansdowne visitors can become, the J3s were also joined by U20 graduate Luc Van Cauwelaert  who is the third generation of his family that came to visit Lansdowne and just never left!  Luc caught both of the team’s successful lineouts on the night.

There were other U20s who made a big impact and looked like they were having fun too.  Fintan O’Malley made a thorough nuisance of himself like all good 7s and Max Richards did very well at 4 before hurrying off the pitch after the first 25 minutes for an urgent choir practice appointment.  Ryan Burgess and Matthew Peters also made fleeting but significant contributions when they came on.

Special mention to the match officials, giving generously of their time on a school night. We didn’t mind the overwhelming and sometimes mystifying penalties, or even the two simultaneous yellow cards – that brought out a period of excellent defending – the only thing that irked the Lansdowne supporters was the blatantly biased and ill informed decisions of the touch judge – the referee’s evil sidekick, our own Ethan Bradley!

A great night and a great welcome to junior rugby in the greatest rugby club in Ireland. Imagine the fun we’ll have when the bar is fully open again?

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