In the UK, the Easter Holidays are normally a chance for school pupils to re-charge their batteries ahead of the final school term of their academic year. However for fourteen year old Sam Maggs, from Brecon, Wales, relaxation will be the last thing on his mind!
Sam, who is a student at Christ College Brecon, one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious private schools, is spending two weeks this Easter on a rugby exchange programme with an up-and-coming California rugby club, Land Park RFC in Sacramento, CA.
The teenager, who has already represented his town and county at Under 11s, the Independent Schools Barbarians team at Under 13s, has guested for Bath RFC U13s and is just finishing a 10 week assessment programme with the Cardiff Blues/Welsh Rugby Union, will be guesting for Land Park RFC U14s in fixtures in nearby San Francisco and Dixon, as well as playing a full part in the club’s twice weekly training sessions.
Sam said: “This is an amazing opportunity for me. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my rugby experiences with the members of Land Park RFC and being a part of their community.
“Even at my relatively young age, the game of rugby has already given me some memorable experiences and has enabled me to form what I think will be life-long friendships. I have no doubt that my visit to Sacramento will provide more of the same!”
His host, Land Park RFC’s Matthew Eason, said: “Our youth rugby program here at Land Park RFC is taking off in a big way. In five years, we’ve already expanded to over 110 kids, and expecting even more next season. Our kids are from the ages of 8-14, and are in grades 2-8.
“While we don’t have an “academy” system over here, Land Park has become a major feeding ground for the elite high school programs, and we are now starting to have an impact into the college ranks.
He added: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming Sam into our community. Sam is coming with impeccable credentials; he is a pupil at one of the UK’s top schools and is already getting exposure to an elite rugby environment. It’s going to be a fantastic couple of weeks for all concerned!”
Discussions are being held to arrange a reciprocal exchange visit in 2013 when it is anticipated that a Land Park RFC player will travel to Wales. Whilst there, it is hoped that the player will be able to shadow Sam at his school at Christ College, experiencing the timetable and atmosphere at the 470 year old educational institution, with rugby playing opportunities being provided by Brecon RFC, a club that was a founder member of the Welsh Rugby Union in 1881.
Christ College Brecon was founded by Royal Charter in 1541 by King Henry VIII. In 2016 it will celebrate its 475th anniversary. Christ College is an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18 years. The Land Park Motley, one of Northern California’s most established youth rugby programs, fields Under 10, Under 12 and Middle School teams. As a founding member of the Northern California Youth Rugby Association, their commitment is to preserve the history and tradition of a sport that creates friendships for life.