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A Feel-Good Look at the Maryland Exiles Trip to Atlanta

irish rugby tours

A Feel-Good Look at the Maryland Exiles Trip to Atlanta

The Maryland Exiles kids who toured Georgia.

The Maryland Exiles took a trip to the Atlanta area this past weekend, meeting up with Phoenix Alpharetta, AYR Inman Park Knights, and AYR War Eagle Rugby.

It turned out to be more of a rugby celebration and development opportunity than major competition, but that might actually have been the smart move for everyone. The Georgia teams combined in what was a wonderful display of teamwork and sportsmanship.

The Exiles brought down their younger players—no seniors—and while Head Coach Dan Soso was worried they might be overmatched, it didn't turn out that way.

"The Atanta teams selected to match our kids, and our boys raised their level of play," said Soso. "We learned so much."

For Maryland, flanker Daniel Boger, prop/lock Leander Green, center Thaddeus Kerr, and fullback/wing Cameron Webster all showed well.

“The community showed up, and it was a great afternoon,” said AYR War Eagles Head Coach Christian Cram. 

Added AYR Inman Park Head Coach Andres Dargent: "the more boys we can get enjoying our game the more competition we can create.”

But really this was about the trip and the experience—a good example of what teams can do on a short tour without stressing the results too much.

"We can't thank Erik Saxon and the Atlanta rugby community enough," said Soso, calling all the coaches "great ambassadors for our sport and community. Their hospitality had our players babbling incessantly on the way home about coming back next year. That is ultimately what it is all about and why we do what we do."

The players also met with Life University Head Coach Colton Cariaga and longtime Life star Chase Schor Haskin and toured the Life campus.

The opportunity came about in early January when Soso contacted Alpharetta Phoenix coach Saxon about playing a few games with the Georgia high school teams while they were in Marietta to tour Life University.

“Instead of Carolina Ruggerfest, Coach Soso decided to give Atlanta a try to give his players a personal experience," Said Saxon. "Wow – did the teams and clubs here rise to the challenge! Being new here myself, I was proud and humbled to be part of this.”