East London ‘honoured’ to welcome Baa Baas
PUBLISHED: 12:30 03 September 2015
Club play host to Barbarians before big match
East London Rugby Club played host to the world famous Barbarians ahead of their historic match against Samoa.
The Baa Baas used the Holland Road facilities and prop Carl Hayman was presented with a pair of club socks, which he wore as the former Olympic Stadium played host to its first rugby international.
Club chairman Nick Bracken said: “It was an honour to welcome the star-studded Barbarians players on Friday and a truly memorable day in the history of East London Rugby Club.
“During Barbarians matches the players traditionally wear their own club socks in addition to the famous black and white jersey. Carl retired recently after a long and distinguished career with the New Zealand All Blacks and most recently European champions Toulon, so is without a club.
“We asked if he would wear our colours. He kept his promise so we can proudly say East London RFC was represented in the first ever game of Rugby at the former Olympic Stadium here in Newham.”
The Barbarians, celebrating their 125th anniversary this season, went on to win an entertaining match 27-24, after Samoa had Kane Thompson sent off in the first quarter.
Adam Thomson and Ben Tapuai scored two tries apiece, with Liam Gill also touching down, as Samoa’s tries came from Anthony Perenise, Ken Pisi and Jack Lam.
Play was held up briefly during the first half when the sprinklers came on unexpectedly, but Hayman said it had been a thrill to play in front of the 41,039 crowd.
“It was exciting. It’s a great stadium to play in and it generated a great atmosphere. It is definitely a rugby stadium,” said Hayman.
“The players enjoyed themselves and it was great for the crowd. It was the first time I’ve been involved in a match where the sprinklers came on. It was quite handy though. It was pretty hot out there. I quite enjoyed being able to cool down for a minute!
“Playing for the Barbarians is always enjoyable; meeting guys from other countries for the first time who you normally play against.
“It was a great experience. I watched the Olympics here so it was a privilege to have been invited to play in the first rugby match here. We trained at East London for our Captain’s Run on Friday. They asked me to wear their club socks and I was happy to do so.”
Newham’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Lester Hudson attended the Barbarians’ Captain’s Run and children present joined up under the banner of Newham Knights the following day and represented the borough in a tag rugby tournament at the Stadium before the big match.
The council and club also provided tickets so that proud parents could go and watch.
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