TRIUMPHANT Underbank Rangers Academy squad have returned from a successful tour of Southern Ireland.
The Holmfirth-based squad took part in the Kilkenny Nines where they had their first taste of open-age rugby.
The team got through to the quarter-finals of the competition playing some of the best rugby it had ever played, according to coach Richard Bennett.
"The trip was a tremendous success, both on and off the field, and the players are anxious to go again next year," said Bennett.
"We thrashed the host team 22-4, eventually going out to the Titans who, I am told, are the best rugby league side in Ireland. They have won the tournament for the last three years.
"Underbank were definitely the team of the tournament and everyone watched the Academy matches and cheered for the team, astounded at their ability to defend against sides where we were giving away a good few stones per man."
Bennett said each player lifted their game and no-one let the side down.
Players of the tournament, as selected by the players, were jointly Ross White and Francis Entressengle. The player of the tournament as chosen by the coaches was Adam Lodge.
He added that the players also behaved impeccably off the pitch and it was remarked upon by players and coaches from other teams that they were excellent ambassadors for their sport and their club.
He also thanked parents, including Gary and Alison Cooling of AGC Tools of Meltham.
AGC Tools, who have been shirt sponsors for the past two seasons, have promised to provide sponsorship for next season when the team become Under 18s.
Gary was also the principal fund-raiser for the trip through a sponsored bike ride and Alison stepped in at the last minute to help with organising the trip.