In the off season Paddy Lavelle, Brian Du Toit and Richie Halpin (above) were selected for a tour to Germany by the Penguin International Rugby Football team. We wondered how they got on:
Q: What is “Penguins Rugby”?
A: Penguins is an invitational team comprised of players from across the UK and Ireland. Predominantly based on Cambridge and Oxford alumni that have gone on to further their rugby career, there is also space provided for additional blow-ins of outstanding club players and this particular outfit contained several professional players from the championship in England and Pro D2 in France. It is, in essence, a poor man’s Barbarians.
Q: When was the tour/what was its purpose?
A: It took place in May/June 2015 and was commissioned by the German rugby association to play against their national team. They wanted to expose their players to a higher quality of international rugby player at the end of a training camp that they were running.
Q: Tell us how 3 Trinity Rugby players got selected for the Penquins?
A: These 3 players were selected on the basis of their performance against Oxford while representing Trinity. They were also earmarked as potential Oxford Blues and therefore were fastracked into the side
Q: Did you enjoy the experience?
A: It was an exceptional experience in an exceptional place. Heidelburg is a beautiful city and filled with great people (including the Fromm family who entertained the Trinity players for an evening). There was a huge social element to the tour, with a few sore heads for the early morning training sessions but the match itself was treated with the utmost seriousness and attitude. The tour would only be seen as a success if we won the match, and that was made clear from the beginning.
Q: What was the worst thing?
A: The early morning training sessions in blinding heat with very little sleep – not advised!
Q: What was the most memorable thing?
A: The character of the group that shone through despite being behind during the game. A fast last 15 minutes to change the result was testament to the ability of the players to increase the tempo and execution – despite the questionable preparation!
For more information on Penguin Rugby visit www.penguinrugby.com