Day 2 in Ireland, and we’ve already begun to swing into the rugby aspect of our trip. Yesterday, we drove all around Cork, watching two different matches. In the morning, we watched Cork Constitution, a semi-pro mens club, and later visiting Irish Independence Park to watch Munster duel against Glasgow. It’s amazing to physically see the difference between ours and their skill. I’ve watched plenty of rugby on TV, but those guys seem almost superficial, like their fake. When you see it for yourself in person, it’s different and it really puts into perspective the separation between American and Irish rugby.
This morning, we had an early wake up call for a training session with an IRFU/Munster coach, where we worked on defensive line speeds an positioning on the field. It’s always interesting to hear these professionals say it, because our coach tells us the exact same things. The Irish teams don’t know more then we do, they just execute better.
Following the session, we made our way back to our favorite pub, Thomunds Bar, for the Irish v. England Rugby 6 Nations tournament. For those of you who aren’t aware, the rivalry between Ireland and England is one for the ages. Add in the fact that it’s a 6 Nation’s match, all hell breaks loose. Stores close, companies abandoned, and people head to the pubs to enjoy a cold Guinness and some great rugby. Luckily, Ireland emerged victorious, and the pub went WILD. I indulged a little and bought myself an IRFU sweatshirt.
Tomorrow, we tour University College Cork, where we have an exchange program set up with our university. Hopefully, we’ll send some players to come study at UCC, as well as play on their Starting XV. After that, we finally have our first match! Although, I feel a little lethargic from the lack of legitimate exercise and dieting, I’m excited. Tonight, I’m staying in, hydrating, and getting a good nights rest, because hopefully we’ll be able to impress these coaches so much that they’ll be begging us to come play for them!
The game’s at 7:00pm tomorrow evening, so I’ll be sure to update you all with the result!