Glenstal Abbey School hosted the Australian Schools Rugby Squad as they prepared for the last game of their Tour against Munster. Glenstal has a long tradition of hosting the Australian Schools sides and the first group came here in 1978 where the three Ella brothers along with a host of other future rugby greats stayed with us. Brother Bob Wallace, the Manager of the 1978 side and who is now the President of the Australian Schools side, is also with this group. We were delighted to welcome Brother Bob back to Glenstal Abbey School as an old friend. He had lots of stories to tell us of his various visits here and regaled us with previous untold stories of the famous Glenstal monk and one of the founders of the Irish Schools Rugby Squads, Fr. Peter Gilfedder.
The Australian boys have been on the road for the last month and have had a grueling schedule of games. Coming off the victory over the Irish Schools in Belfast on Saturday last they will be looking for a final scalp as they take on the Munster Schools in Thomond Park. Jack Boland (2013) plays Hooker for the Munster side.
It was a great pleasure having the Australian boys around and they mixed excellently with everyone. They were based in the TY dorms who are away currently on Work Experience. Things were a bit crammed up in the dorms as the Australian boys were somewhat bigger than our TY’s and there were 30 odd Aussie boys to fill the beds. The Aussies played tip rugby with the Juniors in the Sportshall, ate all meals in the refs and mixed at all the time with the Glenstal boys. Their faces became familiar to us all. They attended School Assembly and Morning Prayer on their final morning here and presented Captain Karl Glynn and vice-Captain Rory Hogan with a memento of their time with us.
It has been a great honour for Glenstal Abbey School to host the Australian Schools Rugby Squad. Our ties go back a long way and we look forward to hosting the Australians at a future time.