With many rugby stadia marking a minute’s silence last weekend for the victims of the Haitian earthquake, it was touching to hear that the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) which represents professional rugby players in Ireland will donate €20,000 on behalf of its members to the Concern Haiti Earthquake Appeal.
In the midst of the glamour and intensity of European rugby and Ireland’s preparations for another assault on the Six Nations, it is a credit to the players and CEO, Niall Woods, that they still have an awareness of how incredibly lucky they are to be pursuing sporting careers and how tragically challenging life can be in other parts of the world.
This generous humanitarian gesture was paid from the IRUPA Injured Players Fund which is in place for players who suffer life-threatening or paralysis injuries. How terrific it was, also, to hear the double good news that chairman of IRUPA, Marcus Horan is back on the pitch for Shannon after an operation for an irregular heartbeat and that Rory Best will be appearing for Banbridge RFC this Saturday after his own serious neck operation.
Rory’s comeback is well ahead of schedule and I know that he will be welcomed back with open arms into the Banbridge colours. His return is testament to the quality medical treatment, supervision and rehabilitation that he has received over the last few months. It also reflects the meticulous approach and attention to detail that Rory himself has shown in adhering to his recovery programme. Sometimes, the smallest things can put a smile back on your face and I’m sure that Ulster rugby supporters wish both Rory and Marcus well in their respective comebacks.