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Schools visit was highlight of Danny Lynch's Jamacia tour with GB Cougars
RECEIVING the honour of captaining Great Britain at rugby league, exploring a Caribbean island and catching a glimpse of the world’s greatest sprinter on the training track are major highlights to bring back from any sports tour.
But for teacher Danny Lynch, the most striking memories of a trip to Jamaica with the British Amateur Rugby League under-23s squad are from a visit to one of the island’s schools.
The Pilkington Recs player was among the GB Cougars squad, also including Thatto Heath winger Phil Morrison, whose presence was aimed at developing the game in a land better-known for producing its sprinters and cricketers.
The 22-year-old from Eccleston – who can play at full back, half back or hooker – took part in the Cougars’ three victories, scoring a try in the second of two test matches against Jamaica and skippering the team against an Intercollegiate team.
He told the Star: “We all went out there thinking they probably won’t be too developed at playing rugby, but we found opposition who were very big and very physical, who tackled hard and ran hard.
“The conditions also took a lot of getting used to – there was the heat and not a lot of grass on the pitches. It was mostly soil, meaning you ended up with lots of cuts and grazes.
“By the end of the tour my aim was to score a try or pass the ball...so you didn’t get tackled onto the pitch!”
Danny, an Edge Hill University graduate who is seeking to secure his first permanent primary school teaching job, said: “It’s the first tour I have been on, and it was an unbelievable experience.
“The thing that stood out for me was going to the Jamaican school, where we held coaching clinics.
“To see the difference in education and how their PE field was just a dirt track was a real eye-opener. I really enjoyed coaching them.
“We even managed to catch sight of Usain Bolt (the Olympic 100-metre champion) who was leaving a track as we prepared for a game nearby.
“He’s a massive hero over there, you see his face up on all the billboards.
“If they can find a few rugby players with his size and close to his speed I imagine Jamaican rugby might do alright.”