PELHAM, N.Y. – Pelham Rugby coach Toby L’Estrange recently returned from a trip abroad with the U.S. National Rugby Team. The Australian native took the time to speak with The Daily Voice about his experience and his work with Pelham Rugby.
Question: What was your reaction when you found out you would be touring with the U.S. Rugby team?
Answer: I was really excited to be selected for the U.S team. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and the realization of a number of goals I had set myself.
Q: What was your favorite part of the experience?
A: I was excited to immerse myself in a professional environment and push my game to a greater level by playing and training with quality players. I was also great to get to see Bucharest and experience other cultures that I never thought I would.
Q: What was the process like for your selection to the team? Did you have to be nominated first or did they just inform you that you'd made the team?
A: I was initially selected in June to train with the squad on the back of the Super League season with New York Athletic Club. Unfortunately, I broke my arm in the last game of the season, which put an end to that. But I was lucky enough to be given a second chance by coach Mike Tolkin when he called up me up for the fall tests.
Q: How has your experience been thus far with Pelham Rugby?
A: It's been great fun being involved with Pelham rugby club. Matt Persanis and all the coaches have done an amazing job setting the program up, and it's been a pleasure to watch the development of the players as well as the enjoyment they get from running around with their mates.
Q: How did you get into playing rugby in the first place and how long have you been playing?
A: I started playing myself when I was 7 in Australia. All my brothers and friends were doing it, so I jumped along for the ride and instantly fell in love with the game. I think the aim of Matt and all the Pelham coaches is to get the status of rugby in Pelham to that stage so more and more youngsters sign up.
Q: What's next for you as a rugby player and as a coach?
A: My immediate goal as a rugby player is to contribute as much as I can to my club and cement my spot in the U.S team with eye to making the World Cup squad in 2015. So far as coaching, I'll look forward to staying as involved as I can with Pelham and other local clubs as a way of giving back to the game that's given me so much.
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