- Sweden Under 18s welcomed to West Yorkshire
- Tour formed part of preparations for European Under 18 Championships
Photo: RFU Archive
Rugby in the West Yorkshire District added a new name to its visitors book when the Swedish Under 18 squad were hosted during a February tour to the county.
“The Swedish boys were fantastic ambassadors for the game,” said Paul Fountain, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Player Development Committee. “I was introduced to David Hanley from the Swedish Rugby Union over Christmas as he was looking to play some games during their February tour.
“I was delighted to help as it’s a great chance to extend the rugby family, help them to develop their national game and equally as important, provide a unique opportunity for our players to test themselves against international opposition.
“It really was a thrill and great honour, which will leave memories that we will all cherish for years to come.”
The Swedish tourists played two games against a West Yorkshire Under 17 Development XV at Woodhouse Grove School and a West Yorkshire Under 18 ‘Barbarians’ XV at Heath RFC.
“Though West Yorkshire won both games, these were highly competitive games where fantastic rugby skills were on display,” said Paul. “Everybody enjoyed it on and off the pitch, with great crowds coming to watch. For me the tour encapsulated everything that is great about rugby – making new friends, respecting your opponent and, most importantly, enjoying the experience.’
David Hanley, Technical Director of the Swedish Under 18 squad, said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Yorkshire RFU for making this possible. Rugby is small but growing in Sweden and we used this tour as part of our final preparations for this year’s European Under 18 Championships in Grenoble, France.
“We are currently ranked 14th of the European nations which includes the Six Nations group, and we will be looking to at least maintain that position this year. We have ambitions to climb this ladder and have begun the processes of putting a new development and national Academy structure in place, which we hope to see the results of in the coming years.”