Spring break is a cherished memory of the seemingly distant past, remembered as a time when one had the chance to take a break from work and escape from the Harvard bubble to warmer climates. Yet, for the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club, the direction of travel wasn’t south, but rather, east.
Its final destination? Ireland.
The members of the women’s club rugby team journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to spend eight days in the Emerald Isle, where they tested their skills against international competition, tried the local cuisine, and saw historical sites and cultural events.
The respected Radcliffe squad boasts an undefeated regular season and postseason, but barely missed a bid to nationals. On its trip, it stepped into the global playing field and participated in a friendly match against St. Mary’s Rugby Football Club, a team based near Dublin. The game served as a great opportunity for the athletes to learn new tactics from their international opponents.
“The game was a lot more dynamic,” freshman scrum-half Kellie Desrochers said. “It helped us to practice defending against a different playing style.”
Harvard also took some time off the field to act as observers, cheering on Ireland to a victory in its match against Wales in the international Six Nations Rugby Tournament.
A large component of the trip involved exploring the country away from the rugby pitch, whether it was seeing sites such as Kilmainham Jaol, Trinity College, Christ’s Church Cathedral, and Malahide Castle, attending a play at Gates Theater and an Irish music festival, or watching the parade in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day.
“The rugby team is a huge family,” Desrochers said. “It was great being able to share this experience with them. It’s a spring break I’m always going to remember.”