They came, they saw, and — most importantly — they bonded and learned together as a team!
Our Varsity rugby players and coaches, Heidi Rubenstein-Brethel and Arnold Chavis, had the unique opportunity to spend spring break on a special training trip in Ireland, an iconic home for the sport since 1875.
In the words of captain Marcello Massone ’19: “It was amazing! It’s a beautiful country with such a rich culture and amazing rugby. We got to enjoy the sights between Dublin and Limerick.”
While the team certainly enjoyed visiting scenic and historic sites — and were even there on St. Patrick’s Day — practicing the sport they love together in a region devoted to the game was paramount.
“As a senior player, I benefited immensely because I got to know our new teammates who had never played before,” Marcello explains. “It was the best possible introduction for them — to get to know the spirit of the sport and our team.”
This week-long, immersive rugby experience included plenty of training with one another and pro players, learning about Gaelic sports, watching professional rugby matches, and playing friendly matches with local teams! There was also plenty of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and memory-making both on and off the pitch.
Our ever-dedicated Coach Rubenstein-Brethel documented the team’s experiences in real time via WhatsApp, providing some highlights for us fans back home:
3/16/19, 7:40 am
"It’s a rainy day in Dublin, as we go on a city tour and visit the National Museum."
3/16/19, 9:45 am
"Watching a Six Nations game!"
3/17/19, 6:10 am
"This morning out at Na Fianna Gaelic Club, we’re learning about the Gaelic sports of football, handball, and hurling."
3/17/19, 12:05 pm
"After having some lunch at the GAA Club Na Fianna, who were amazing hosts, we went to watch the Leinster High School Boys’ Rugby Cup Final! It was a great match with high-level boys from St. Michael’s and Gonzaga — two amazing teams."
3/18/19, 8:17 am
"Heading out to training session to prepare for our first match tonight!"
3/18/19, 11:29 am
"Had lunch and explored the town of Dún Laoghaire for a bit before preparing for our match against Clondalkin Rugby Club."
3/18/19, 7:19 pm
"Clondalkin were amazing hosts! We lost today but it was a hard fought match and our boys did very well. They honored Marcello ‘19 with a captain’s ball and Ven Cernjul '20 got MVP of the match for Dwight. Some of their players joined our team to make 15 for our side, so we gifted them with Dwight t-shirts. Rookies from both our teams took the club stage to exchange anthems. We were lucky to have this experience!"
3/19/19, 5:56 am
"On our way to Limerick and Kilkenny Castles now!"
3/20/19, 10:23 am
"Half-time score against Saint Munchin’s College: 10-10"
3/20/19, 10:54 am
"Dwight with the win by two points!"
3/20/19, 2:05 pm
It was a special day of rugby. We’re so proud of our boys!
Coach Rubenstein-Brethel shares her own reflection: “I think that this trip was significant because it allowed the players to see a real link between our Dwight team culture and the rugby culture in another part of the world where the tradition is deep. It was comforting to realize — and probably also surprising for some of the new players to see — that there is a true global connection through the sport of rugby and that they are a part of that.” She concludes, “This experience also allowed them to bond as a team and strengthen the already-amazing brotherhood that they share.”
Without a doubt, our Rugby Lions returned from their adventure stronger than ever and we’re excited to continue cheering them on to victory throughout this spring season!