Monday 18 December 2017

Where are they now?: Chris Pim (Former Leinster rugby player)

Leinster play their 100th game in the European Cup today. Back in 1995 when they played their first, Chris Pim captained the side.

"It was so different to anything we had ever done," he recalls. "Our first game was away to Milan. Two years previous to that we had no idea that we would end up going anywhere; we thought that going to the Sportsground was as good as it got."

"The olden days were great, as the saying goes, the older I get the better I was. It wasn't a particularly huge honour to captain Leinster at the time, it was just something that I did because I was asked to do it. It's only when I look back at it that I realise what an honour it was."

The blindside flanker started out playing for Old Wesley as an 18-year-old in 1982 and finished his playing career in 1997. He spent nine of those years playing with Leinster.

"Part of my reason for finishing was that I could feel myself starting to creak. I wanted to be able to go out and kick a ball with my kids. I definitely lived in the best of both worlds, starting amateur and finishing as a semi-professional. I got a taste of life as a pro but I also had the olden days of the crack and the pints."

The AIL played a significant role in his career. Back in Pim's early days with Old Wesley, the club games were bigger than the interpros.

"It was a very different world back then, but forming the provinces was part of the natural progression for rugby. The game couldn't sustain a professional AIL game so they went a route that proved to be very successful for the game in general.

"There is a massive amount of kids playing who want to be the next Jamie Heaslip or Brian O'Driscoll. They wear the rugby shirts now like they wear a Manchester United jersey and that's fantastic. I never thought the game would reach that sort of level."

Pim is based in Kilkenny. He operates a McDonald's in Kilkenny city and one in Dungarvan. His three sons Sam, Ruben and Noah all play with Kilkenny RFC.

"Rugby is hard in Kilkenny with the hurling, underage is fantastic because the soccer players and hurlers play as well. We have a huge availability underage but we suffer then because the kids either go away to boarding school or Kieran's College or the CBS, the two hurling hotbeds."

Sunday Independent

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