Perse rugby players train with international stars on France tour
Perse U18 rugby players had the thrill of being put through their paces by international stars during their summer tour to France.
The group of 29 students were treated to expert advice from former Wales ace Ben Broster and Australia international Luke Morahan while warming up for the new season in the Basque region of the country.
Former Saracens and Biarritz player Ben passed on his wisdom on scrummaging to the forwards, while Luke, who plays for French Top 14 side Bayonne, took the backs for some handling skills.
Meeting the professionals was just one of the highlights of the tour as the Perse players quickly experienced first-hand the challenge of training in temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius.
They enjoyed watching Bayonne play their first match of the Top 14 season against reigning champions Toulouse at the sold-out Stade Jean-Dauger before taking to the pitch themselves against local side St Jean de Luz.
Perse Head of Rugby Simon Thomas said: “The Perse team was a little rusty and lacking in cohesion at that stage of the tour and lost the game, but it was a well matched and competitive with just the right level of challenge for a pre-season fixture.
“We were hosted superbly by St Jean de Luz, who put on a fantastic post-match meal, and it provided a great opportunity for the boys to practise their French as they interacted with the opposition players.”
After a recovery stretching and pool session the following morning, the cold-water immersion continued in the afternoon as the boys braved the Atlantic swell and undertook a surfing lesson before rounding off the day with a game of beach volleyball at Les Sables D’Or.
The boys also took in the sights and culture of the Basque region, enjoying sightseeing in Bayonne, Biarritz and St Jean de Luz, as well as turning their hand to the popular Basque sport of pelota.
In their final game of the tour, the Perse team came up against a formidable St Vincent de Tyrosse side.
Mr Thomas said: “The training and team bonding that had taken place whilst on tour showed through as the team put in a significantly improved performance and were very competitive against a strong outfit.”