A unique opportunity allowed Guernsey youths to play

Guernsey make use of air bridge for rugby tournament on Isle of Man

The Gallagher Premiership is set to kick off in the coming days, but we have already seen some rugby taking place in this part of the world. A unique tour opportunity for young players from Guernsey presented itself last weekend and they took it on with relish.

Here Guernsey Rugby Academy’s Dave Mahoney explains what went on…

“On Sunday the Guernsey Rugby Academy – with the support of our title sponsor Grant Thornton – were fortunate to travel up to the Isle of Man to take advantage of the newly installed air bridge between the islands, bypassing the UK and their Covid issues as both islands have been entirely Covid-free for a number of months.

Guernsey make use of air bridge for rugby tournament on Isle of Man

Taking contact: Guernsey boys in action (Dave Mahoney)

“Following an unexpected diversion to Manchester airport (as someone had forgotten to tell Isle of Man air traffic control to turn up for our early arrival!), 62 players comprising boys and girls from age groups U14 to Colts, accompanied by nine coaches, played a round-robin tournament of XRugby7s within the age grades against Douglas RFC, Vagabonds RFC, Ramsey RFC, Southern Nomads RFC and Western Vikings RFC.

Related: When will rugby return in the UK and Ireland?

“On a warm and sunny day amongst the lovely setting of Douglas RFC, the club had organised an ambitious schedule of 72 matches, with Guernsey sides playing 30 matches and coming away with a record of W14 D6 L10. It was particularly pleasing to note that the Academy U18 girls came away with a 100% record, which bodes well for them continuing into the very successful Guernsey Raiders Ladies side on island.

Guernsey make use of air bridge for rugby tournament on Isle of Man

Try time: A Guernsey score (Dave Mahoney)

“All of the players were so pleased to be back on the pitch playing some competitive matches especially as realistically we are all aware that return to playing in the Sussex leagues is still some way off.  Speaking to coaches and others from the Isle of Man clubs it was clear they shared this sentiment.

“A great day was had by all and Douglas RFC were fabulous hosts and they will accept our offer to join us here in Guernsey in the not too distant future for a return match-up. In fact, this Saturday (15 August), on the adult side, Guernsey is looking forward to hosting Douglas RFC (North One West) to play Guernsey Raiders (newly promoted to National Two), and an Isle of Man select squad to play Guernsey Vikings (Raging Bull Shield).

“The Guernsey-Douglas match has actually led to a new annual meeting of the teams to compete for the Crown Cup. The Isle of Man sides are assured a warm and vocal welcome to Guernsey.”

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