Vienna Celtic U12 travelled to Italy to take part in the Torneo Delle Linci (The Lynx Tournament) at Rugby Club Pasian di Prato on the outskirts of Udine. Some came direct from skiing on the slopes of Schladming, others from playing beach rugby on the finely combed sands of Jesolo, while others wandered through the historic streets and canals of Venice or attended the exciting European Challenge Cup Match between Benetton and Connaught in Treviso. All met up for late night giant pizza and bowls of mussels at a local pizzeria. (Not sure that qualifies as carbo loading).

The opening ceremony on Sunday morning, April 2, saw 500 players from all the teams taking part stood in front of a full stand as the national anthems of Austria and Italy played against a backdrop of snow capped mountains.
Celtic were unable to get out of their own half in their first game against Benetton Rugby and lost 5-0. Although Benetton were much the smaller team in size, they always passed well (small short passes) and didn’t get caught with the ball. Their good support and alignment meant that Celtic were chasing shadows. In contrast Celtic kicked away possession too often and got caught with the ball in isolation, wrapped up with no one to pass to.
The second game against Rugby Thiene was better resulting in a 3-0 win for Celtic.
However, in the next game, weak rucking close to the Vienna Celtic try line allowed Amatori Rugby Club Vicenza (eventual winners of the tournament) to score three easy tries. The Celts were too easily pushed off the ball and didn’t have players nearby to defend. The match ended 5-0 to Vicenza.
The next two games against weaker opposition were comfortably won. Pasian de Prato A 11-0, and Rugby Vittorio Veneto 9-0.
That set up a play off for 5th and 6th place against Monti Rugby Rovigo who finished 3rd in group B while Celtic finished 3rd in group A. Celtic got everything right for their first try. No one carried the ball too far, they passed before being tackled and good alignment allowed the ball to be passed through many pairs of hands from one side of the field to the other for a try in the corner. It was a great team try. However, as the game progressed white line fever crept in. Instead of passing to their team mates the Celts would run into the opposition hoping to break the tackle and score a try. Against weaker teams this works but Rovigo were not a weak team and easily smothered or tackled our players. Consequently Rovigo came back into the game and only some stout defending allowed Celtic to see out the game as 3-2 winners and claim 5th place in the tournament.

Congratulations to the U12 on their 5th place and many thanks to the players, coaches, team managers, parents and supporters who helped make this weekend a very enjoyable, successful and memorable one.

Vienna Celtic 3rd in group A
P W D L F A Pts
5 3 0 2 23 10 6

Benetton L 0-5
Rugby Thiene W 3-0
Amatori Rugby Vicenza L 0-5
Pasian di Prato A W 11-0
Rugby Vittorio Veneto W 9-0

5th and 6th place play off
Monti Rugby Rovigo W 3-2

Players: Angelo, Ben, Christine, Clemens, Emmet, Felix, Jamie, Luca, Nathan, Oliver, Paul
Coaches: Peter T., Christian
Team Manager: Michaela

Thanks to Peter B. for the great pictures (R)