A talented player from Bexhill represented Rugby Europe against Poland on Saturday.
Lars Thorkildsen played the full first half of a game which took place in Lodz to help celebrate the Polish Rugby Federation’s 60th anniversary.
He said: “It has been a fantastic, although a bit surreal, experience playing for Rugby Europe XV. One day you play your club and uni rugby, the next you are in Lodz being coached by Didier Retiere, who coached France in two World Cups, in front of thousands of people, fireworks, being greeted by the Polish President, playing together with players from 10 nations, and I could go on and on. It has certainly been inspiring and I hope I get another opportunity.”
Europe took an early lead with a try, but Poland were too strong and well-drilled, and ran out 52-19 victors in an entertaining match watched by 6,000 spectators and shown live on Polish TV.
Playing at number six, Lars defended well and made a few exciting runs with the ball that resulted in him recording the most metres gained for the Europeans in the first half.
The Rugby Europe XV was made up of players from 10 nationalities, mostly tier one nations, but also including a number of players who played in the last World Cup.
After the match they all attended the anniversary gala dinner hosted by the Polish Sports Federation and attended by dignitaries from World Rugby, European Rugby, the Polish Government etc.
Although just 19-years-old, Lars already has six senior caps for Norway, and is hoping to add to that tally in next month’s autumn internationals against Finland and Denmark.
He also plays for Heathfield & Waldron RFC and University of Chichester (where he has been awarded a rugby scholarship while studying music).
Lars is becoming a very skilful player, developing a great mix of the physicality required in the forwards and the silky handling skills of the backs.
His understanding of the game means he is becoming a real leader of men, able to help his team-mates get into effective positions during the heat of the game.
Well-liked among his peers and always looking to develop himself and the national team, both on and off the pitch, Lars could no doubt become a fantastic captain in the future.