University of Leicester Rugby League Student Represents Country

Posted by cph5 at Apr 23, 2012 07:25 PM |
An account of Economics student Doug Heseltine's recent experience of representing Scotland Students at the 4 Nations.
Since studying at the University of Leicester I took the opportunity to switch codes and try rugby league, a decision I have not looked back on and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. In April this year I attended trials for Scotland students, and in May was lucky enough to find out that I had been selected in the Scotland squad for the four nations in Ireland this summer. The news was made even sweeter when I found out that my brother, Cal (Nottingham Trent) had also been selected for the squad.
Heseltine Rugby League
Doug Heseltine (on left) with his brother Cal

 

The tour was an amazing experience and something I will remember for the rest of my life. It was great to get an insight into the professional game and play at the highest level. The intensity and physicality was unrivalled by any I have played so far. It was a great opportunity to play against the best players from the home nations, and believe the experience has improved my skills and helped me develop as a player. We had three highly competitive games.

First, we played England who came into the tournaments as heavy favourites, as they had been together as a squad for several months and played numerous warm up games. Needless to say we struggled to keep up with the pace of England and this took its toll and lead to inevitable defeat, nevertheless, I was lucky enough to score on my debut and score the only try for Scotland. Next up was Wales, an incredibly close game with Wales leading 8-6 at half time, however, unfortunately Wales scored a few unanswered tries and the score line began to flatter Wales, as our inexperience began to show. Our final game was against Ireland, this was the most competitive of the three, again, our lack of game time together began to show and we missed many opportunities which could have changed the game. The game finished 20-8 and was extremely disappointing and a bitter pill for the team to swallow.

After each game there was a combination of pool recovery sessions, physio sessions, video analysis and on the pitch training, working on elements we had identified from the previous game and general play. We were also able to enjoy some time as a team doing non rugby related activities, such as, the Guinness factory and have some fun as a team. The tournament was played with great respect for one and other, and all the games were highly competitive and played in the correct spirit. The overall winners of the tournament were the favourites England; it was good to see that the right team won.

Despite the results being disappointing, it was an unbelievable experience. I was given the opportunity to work with quality coaches and meet a great group of people, who helped make the experience even better. I hope to emulate this and play for Scotland again next year, when they will be the host nations. I have learned so much from this experience, many of which I will be able to bring back and incorporate into the University team. I’d like to thank all involved with the organising the tournament, especially Scotland rugby league from coaches and players to organising staff. I’d also like to thank he University of Leicester for the help with funding, in particular Matt Weir and Ian Thursfield and all associated with rugby league at Leicester.

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