Tales from Tour: BARLA had a culture shock in Fiji

Dave Parkinson

Baby-faced Reece Rushworth is fresh from a match-winning touchdown that helped the BARLA Lions to a 22-20 win over West Fiji.

Despite his tender years, Rushworth has packed a lot of experiences in, from joining York Acorn at 12, to a short stint with the Featherstone Rovers academy. Following that, Reece took a hiatus but thankfully returned to play the sport a year later.

Since that decision, he hasn’t looked back.

“That was about two years ago,” said the back-rower.

“I played for Yorkshire last year at Open Age when we won the tri-counties series.

“It was a massive achievement for me, because I’m still only 21 now and being one of the younger ones it can be a privilege to play alongside more experienced lads and get a bit more quality from the game.

“Fiji is very laid back, it’s a different culture, everything is different. It’s not quite as posh as we thought it might be but it’s good. We had a bit of a culture shock but accepted that it is what it is. We are making the most of the reason we are here – it’s the rugby first.”

Three months younger than Lancastrian Declan Sheridan, Rushworth has been paired to room with Askam forward Tom Hopkins and says that his influence is already paying off.

“Tom is a really nice lad and we get on very well, as I have with everyone on tour,” he added.

“It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and we’ve certainly done that!”