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EIRA Tourists Push Hard to Get Ready for Spain

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EIRA Tourists Push Hard to Get Ready for Spain

Head Coach Salty Thompson has some work to do to get his team ready. David Barpal photo.

Eagle Impact Rugby Academy prepares to meet the Spanish Under 18 national team Thursday after just a couple of days of training.

The team flew out of Dallas on the 28th, arriving in Madrid on the morning of the 29th. Immediately the players got right into training. They are staying in Valladolid, northwest of Madrid, and training at Club deportivo Unión Arroyo. The weather is relatively mild, comparable, said coaches, to Northern California.

The team got right to work installing what they had to install and keeping the players active through the first day so they would sleep at the right time of the day. The players responded, putting in a good session and another couple of sessions on the following day. They will kick off at 6PM local time on Thursday, which is noon Eastern Time.

Spain, said Head Coach Salty Thompson, is not a team to be overlooked.

"Spain may not be a rugby nation per sé," said Thompson. "But their age-grade programs are really well organized and they have some pretty accomplished players."

As reported on GRR earlier this week, three of the Spain players are in academy systems with professional teams in France, and another plays at a prestigious rugby school in the UK.

The EIRA team is mostly made up of players who have been through EIRA programs, but not all. The Staples second row duo of Owen Clarke and George Engels are new to Eagle Impact, recruited for the tour from the HS National Championships. 

EIRA Roster for Spain Set

"they are fitting in really well," said Thompson. 

The Spanish government required all EIRA players to be vaccinated to enter the country, and while the requirements for the tour seemed tough to follow, once they got in to Spain, Thompson said, things have gone very smoothly.

"It's been a tough year," Thompson said. "I am just really proud that we're here."