The 1st XV Squad travelled to Northampton at the end of the half term to play Bedford School and carry out preparation for the tough fixture list coming up to Christmas.
Former RBAI 1st XV captain, Ulster and Ireland representative and current Northampton Saints team manager Paul Shields was a great help in arranging the tour. Paul gained financial assistance from alumni and arranged accommodation, transport and some of the team activities carried out on tour.
After arriving on Thursday the squad transferred to Franklins Gardens and after watching the Saints training session carried out our own training. The evening was spent creating a team profile and setting goals for the season.
Friday consisted of more training and then the boys showing off their driving skills at the indoor Go Karting track. Scrumhalf Niall Armstrong proved to be the quickest driver recording the fastest lap time of the squad.
Saturday was the most important day of the tour as putting in a good performance would be the main measure of the success of the few days away. The match was played in near perfect conditions and it was RBAI who started the match most positively with some enterprising attack. James Hume opened the scoring after a neat inside pass from Michael Lowry. The next score was a well worked attack from the backs where Niall Armstrong playing on the wing chipped the fullback and Rhys O'Donnell won the race to the ball to score. Just before half time Joe Finnegan raced in to score the third unconverted try. Half time 15-0.
The second half provided an opportunity for all 22 squad members to play. Although Bedford scored 2 tries RBAI finished strongest with wing Frazer Laughlin racing in at the corner and captain Michael Lowry scoring an opportunist try from an untidy line out.
Final score RBAI 27 Bedford 12
Following a trip to watch Northampton Town FC play the boys enjoyed a squad dinner out and returned home on Sunday to a well earned Half Term break.
The squad would like to again thank Paul Shields and all the contributors who made this tour a great success.