Belfast Telegraph

Rugby club tour ends in a giant mismatch

BY MICHELLE SMYTH

What happens on tour is supposed to stay on tour but members of Bangor Rugby Club are happy to tell anyone about their latest adventure – an impromptu game against Italy's top team.

Not only that, but the North Down lads, despite playing well out of their league, managed to draw first blood, scoring three points against the Italian giants.

For the local lads – made up of players from the firsts, seconds and thirds – the game against Benetton Rugby Treviso on Tuesday was their last in a week-long tour on the Continent that also saw them take on teams from Milan and Rome.

Bangor Rugby Club's Roger Corbett explained that the touring team, who normally don't play together at home, did not expect to play Treviso, which are used to taking on the likes of Ulster and the rest of the Heineken Cup teams.

He said: "The lads were expecting to take on the youth side, never mind their top team that also had Italian internationals playing on it. They were exhausted as this was their third game in five days.

"They were like lambs being brought to the slaughter, but they were so excited at the same time.

"It was a ticketed event attended by 2,500 people. Treviso treated it as a warm-up for their upcoming game against the Ospreys and didn't go easy on them."

Despite taking the lead, Bangor lost out to the Italians 92-3 – their first score also their last.

But Mr Corbett said the final scoreline didn't dampen the enjoyment of the Co Down men.

He added: "Everyone is still on such a high, it was a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience.

"The Italian crowd really loved their club song they sang at the end of the match, they were very well received. We are all so proud of them."

 

FACTFILE

Treviso Rugby Club was founded in 1932 and has won 15 Italian national titles. Since 1979, the team has been owned by Benetton clothing company. The team has been professional since 1995 and dominated the Italian league between 1997 and 2010 – winning the Italian Cup in 1998 and the championship 10 times. The Italian national team has used many players from Treviso, such as Leonardo Ghiralsini and Alessandro Zanni. Treviso has also attracted many foreign players such as Michael Lynagh and Craig Green.

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