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Ulster Summer Camps Get A Spanish Visit

Ulster Summer Camps Get A Spanish Visit

As the Centra-sponsored Ulster Rugby Summer Camps continued this week at RBAI, Carrick and the Senior Camp at University of Ulster Jordanstown, the Ulster Branch learnt of two brothers from Madrid who are over in Belfast on an exchange with Malone Rugby Club and both are attending the Summer Camps while they are here.

Peter Irwin, whose daughter Hannah is coaching at the Carrick Summer Camp and looking after the two boys, gave us a bit more information on the boys’ trip.

Two Spanish boys, Guillermo and Inyaki Mateuspuches arrived in Northern Ireland early last Saturday to spend a week at the Ulster Rugby Summer Camps and hopefully learn a little bit about Northern Ireland when they are here.

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Both boys play for the Club Deportivo Hercesa in Madrid where their father Willi, a former Argentine International, is head coach.

Inyaki is 12-years-old and prefers to play scrum half, whilst 16-year-old Guillermo’s favoured position is winger or full-back.

The visit was facilitated through the Madrid club by Mark Doyle who works in Madrid and is a player and coach with Hercesa.

The boys, their family and the Irwin family are keen to extend a big thank you to Malone RFC who have kindly facilitated the visit at this end by providing the necessary logistics for the boys’ stay in Northern Ireland.

It was through Malone and Hannah Irwin, who is coaching at the Carrick Summer Camp, that her family volunteered to put the boys up.

Hannah has been looking after Inyaki at the Carrick Camp, while Guillermo is at the Senior Summer Camp at Jordanstown.

Both boys are really enjoying the camps and meeting the professional players, with Ulster and Ireland team-mates Bryan Young and Andrew Trimble turning up at Carrick and forward trio BJ Botha, Rory Best and Thomas Anderson at Jordanstown.

So far, there has not been much time for the boys to do things outside of the camps, as the first couple of days were spent recovering from the rigours of travelling, which involved plane delays and a long drive from Dublin Airport in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The weather here has been a bit of a factor as it was 30 degrees-plus in Madrid when they left and our ever changing weather patterns mean it has generally been a little bit colder than what they are used to at this time of the year!

Although the two boys have little English, and Spanish does not exactly flow fluently in the Irwin household, Peter told us that it has been very interesting getting to know the two visitors!

A mixture of English words and sign language have gone a long way to making communication a little bit easier, and both boys have a very good knowledge of rugby, not only in Argentina (Felipe Contepomi, Juan Martin Hernandez and so on), but also of Irish rugby on a wider scale.

The Irwins are hoping that by the end of the stay, something of Ulster Rugby and Malone will have worn off on the boys and that they will take this knowledge back to Madrid.

The boys’ sporting interests extend to tennis, and of course football; with Spain being a big soccer nation and Madrid having two major teams in the city.

Yesterday afternoon after camp, Guillermo and Inyaki were treated to some retail therapy at a Retail Park in Antrim – they were particularly interested in the sports shops there.

They are nearly at the end of their stay and it is hoped (weather permitting) that they will get to see the Tall Ships event at the Odyssey and then watch the ships leaving on Sunday.

Saturday will be spent relaxing and enjoying themselves after all the hard work at the camps with maybe a bit of sightseeing in Belfast.

Guillermo and Inyaki are sure to look back on their trip in years to come and remember it as a great adventure.

The pair have made great progress over the week and Peter Irwin believes that we should look out for them in years to come as potential Spanish rugby stars!

With just two camps remaining next week at Armagh and Bangor, organisers are keen to point out that there are still a number of places remaining at both venues.

This year’s Ulster Rugby Summer Camps have been another great success. For further information, please click here.