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Germany's capital of rugby rolls out red carpet for Stillorgan RFC

On Friday February 26 the Stillorgan RFC touring side will once again take to the road and this year the destination is Heidelberg.

Year on year the Stillorgan tour grows in popularity and this year there are over 40 members travelling to Germany -- this is mainly due to the hard work that Mike Kirwan puts in every year to make the tour a success.

There was a lot of discussion on where the 2010 tour would go but Heidelberg was selected after it met the strict criteria of culture and architecture. It was also mentioned that there are a large number of bars and cafes to be enjoyed, but such things never cross the mind of a dedicated rugby player heading to the capital of German rugby!

Our hosts for the tour are Heidelberg Ruderklub (HRK), who are the oldest rugby club in Germany. HRK were originally a rowing club but rugby was taken up as a winter sport to keep members fit and occupied. Since formation, HRK have won six German championships, two German Cups and 28 junior and student titles at various levels.

At HRK, Stillorgan will be facing the Wild Rugby Academy, a team made up of young talent from the region who are coached by Australian Murray Archibald. The 40 player-strong Stillorgan team will be made up of players from the J2, J4 and the irrepressible J5 Banditos.

The game against HRK will be played under lights on Friday evening, which will be then followed by a meal hosted by HRK in The Dubliner Hotel in the heart of Heidelberg.

With 40 players touring, a strong Stillorgan team will take to the field, and there will also be some cameo appearances from the likes of Tom Tracy and Johnny Plunkett. But the most anticipated appearance will be from Ross O'Donovan, who has not been seen on a rugby pitch since he fell in love over a year ago.

With the game on the Friday night it allows the touring party to go for a full programme of cultural events on Saturday, culminating in a return to The Dubliner Hotel on Saturday evening to watch the England v Ireland Six Nations match live from Twickenham.

Heidelberg be prepared ...