The French Sports and Language Centre Newpark Comprehensive U14’s October 2006

A trip with an U14’s side can pose difficulties no matter where you travel but travelling abroad brings its own extra potential difficulties. However the key is to keep them active all the time and give them plenty of space to do itin.

When we arrived in Bordeaux to a very calm easy to negotiate airport we were extremely well looked after. We travelled on a more than comfortable bus to Soustons where we were whisked very quickly in for dinner. One of the really excellent things about the centre is the routine particularly surrounding meals, because of the space available everyone is fed at the same time every morning, lunch time and evening, therefore preventing any confusion and the boys know exactly when things are happening. The food was well balanced and nutritious with both lunch and dinner being plentiful and out of 30 boys we had no complaints.

We stayed in chalets close to the centre which were warm, comfortable and well contained, we spent most of the day either at the centre or at the beach so it was only in the evenings that we returned here and not usually until after 9pm. The activities during the 4 days really kept the boys focussed and added an extra element, surfing, sailing, canoeing were all great supplements to the rugby.

We played 3 games while there, Biarritz and Crescent Comprehensive School Junior side, it was a fantastic experience for the boys to be playing matches abroad and mingling with players from other areas that they may not get to meet otherwise. The coaching and advice they received was very high quality and they are still talking about it 2 weeks later. This side were enthusiastic already but this enthusiasm has been rejuvenated by their trip.

The situation is beautiful, the weather was good and all of our students developed both their rugby skills and their personal skills too. The French Sports and Language Centre was a very enjoyable experience for all concerned and I am sure we will be returning again.

Morgan Lennon Newpark, Comprehensive School Blackrock, Co Dublin