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Mystic Wraps Italy Tour: They Welcomes Us Into Their Homes

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Mystic Wraps Italy Tour: They Welcomes Us Into Their Homes

Making friends and learning on tour in Italy with Irish Rugby Tours.

Back from their tour of Italy safe and sound, the Mystic U19s can reflect on a hugely successful tour.

The the field, the tour was difficult, as the relatively young Mystic team faced some more experienced opponents.

“The boys as we were a young inexperienced squad who had never played together,” said Head Coach Thomas Clark, who steps down from his position after this tour to concentrate on the 19 other things he does. “I was impressed with the talent level with the Italian teams, but they were definitely much more experienced than our side. In the long-term, that’s a good education for our guys.”

But aside from the rugby games, there was additional value to be had.

“The real benefit to our side was the training sessions with the coaches from Cus Rugby Milano, Rugby Colorno, Amatori Rugby San Dona, and Primavera Rugby Club,” said Clark. “Several of them were coaches who came to Italy from South Africa, New Zealand, or Argentina, and never left.”

The players absorbed much in the way of rugby knowledge. And then touring the cultural and historical sights around Italy, there was a more broad-based educational aspect.

That was impressive for the photos, but what the players and coaches will also bring back are the memories of the people.

“The boys experienced some of the greatest rugby socials I have been to in my 20 years,” said Clark. “The clubs, families and players gave us a true warm welcome. In the words of the Flemme Oro Club, we truly felt we were welcomed into the homes of all these clubs.”

With the touring retinue numbering 50 people, there were many people to feed and host, but the clubs stepped up.

“Seeing Italy, and see how they welcomed us and the social environment, was really good for our boys,” said Clark.

As noted above, this is the last Mystic River Gulls event for Clark. As Head Coach at St. John’s Prep and Tufts University, and with his work with the Northeast Academy, he has plenty of rugby to deal with.

The Mystic U19 club primarily plays 7s in the summer, so this tour is really a precursor to the varsity season in Massachusetts. For Clark, is was an excellent way to make his last impression.

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