By Dafydd Curry, Wales Masters
Captaining Wales Masters last weekend was one proud day I’ll never forget. We travelled to Moreton Stadium in Dublin to take on Ireland, who are a good side and even better hosts.
Masters Rugby League is an inclusive sport for those aged at least 35 years old, with no upper age. We have modified rules including varying contact depending on age, denoted by short colour. It is surprisingly well observed and easy to adjust to, even in the heat of battle. I’m 45-years old right now.
And against Ireland, it was a battle. It was the second leg of the “Capital Series”. Ireland were a big strong side, and both sides relished the physical aspects of the game, we loved it! Denny McCarthy ran the show for Ireland and deserved his side’s man of the match. We scored two tries, through Dave Turner and from our man of the match Dave Castle.
That was on Saturday. It was a proper hard game, officiated superbly by the refereeing team. On Sunday, we had sore bodies and sore heads as we made our journey home.
Ireland were fantastic hosts. Both sides enjoyed the clubhouse and the onward venue to rehydrate, with the hospitality going well into the night. That’s all part of Masters Rugby League. We face each other, then mix together, the big rule is that you buy your opposite number a drink.
It is this camaraderie which is often evident in masters rugby league matches and lifelong friendships develop.
Many of us get into Masters Rugby League for different reasons. For myself, I was actually trying to find suitable rugby for my son who has learning disabilities. I ended up coaching and helping out and from that, I was asked to go training with the Masters RL side, North Wales Buccaneers.
I’ve not really played much since school, so I’ve actually played more in four years than throughout my 20s and 30s. All I ever expected was a few games for the Buccaneers, so to then get to play for and captain my country is an example of what Masters rugby has given me in terms of opportunity.
Plenty of the men in that group have opened up on problems ranging from depression, loneliness anxiety and homelessness. It’s an inclusive form of rugby and a great support to each other.
Currently, we’ve two sides in Wales, the Buccaneers plus Cardiff Blue Dragons, but we’d love to see more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved.