Athboy Longhorns to welcome South Wales youngsters to Ireland

South Wales Scorpions have confirmed that they will be making a trip to Ireland in March, as their Under-20s team are set to take on local side Athboy Longhorns in a friendly.

The game will take place on March 12 at Longhorns’ home ground in Ashbourne, around half an hour’s drive north of Dublin.

Scorpions’ U-20 head coach Paul Emanuelli will lead the trip. He is looking forward to his players broadening their experience in Ireland.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our youngsters to see the culture of another country and go into the unknown by playing a friendly match against an Irish side,” he said.

“With a trip booked for Canada later this year where we’ve three matches arranged, the statement is simple, join the Scorpions and you’ll see the world.

“We’re going to be playing the match at midday so both teams can socialise and watch the rugby union Six Nations that afternoon.

“We’re honoured to be playing this game.

“It’s going to be a big occasion. I’m just gutted that we’ve got 25 players available and I can only take 18. It was a tough decision.

“We’ve a free day on Sunday so we’re looking at doing a community coaching session at a club in Dublin as well as looking round the city before flying back early on Monday. It’ll all be a great experience for the lads.”

The link between the clubs came as a result of work done by current Ireland winger, and Longhorns player, Casey Dunne.

Other Super League and Championship clubs have been approached for fixtures by the Longhorns, but the Scorpions were the first to respond positively.

“The Longhorns rugby league club are delighted to be announcing the fixture between ourselves and South Wales Scorpions,” said Dunne.

“We are hoping this fixture will highlight the willingness for us as a club to fulfil fixtures between ourselves and Super League or Championship clubs, and also make them aware that Ireland has an developing junior and academy club scene and that, like South Wales Scorpions, we are producing our own players from youth.

“This is a massive opportunity for our panel of players to prove themselves against very good opposition.

“South Wales are the leading light at youth level in Wales and year on year, produce many of the Welsh players who play at representative levels.

“I got in contact with Paul some time ago about this fixture and he couldn’t have been more easy to deal with.

“He’s really helped get this off the ground along with myself, Tony Dale and Mick Aughey from Longhorns. We’ve great facilities at Ashbourne RFC and we’re hoping for a massive turnout to support these young players.

“We’ve had so much contact with people willing to help in any way so I know that this fixture will become rooted in the calendar year on year win lose or draw.”

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