herald

Monday 21 August 2017

Students crouch, bind, set for world's largest scrum record

MORE than 1,000 Blackrock College students have smashed the world record for the biggest ever rugby scrum.

Some 1,044 pupils from Blackrock and junior school Willow Park gathered on the front lawn to break the record, beating the 1,008-strong scrum organised by England Rugby last September.

The event was organised by transition year students to launch this year's St Patrick's Badges Campaign, with the pupils hoping to raise €70,000 for charities GOAL and Aidlink.

The students were cheered on by a host of famous faces including Blackrock old boys and Ireland stars Jordi Murphy and Ian Madigan.

EMOTIONAL

George Hook was also there to lend his support, and revealed he's looking forward to hanging up his punditry boots after this year's Six Nations tournament.

"Sunday was actually my last day broadcasting from the Aviva Stadium and I actually thought I'd feel rather emotional, but it reinforced for me that I had made the right decision," he told the Herald.

"As I walked away I thought to myself, 'I've done the right thing'. It's nice because I would've hated to have walked down those steps and regretted my decision.

"I won't miss the panel at all. I know now I'm not going to be watching the matches next year thinking that the lads aren't doing right and that I would do it better. I'm very happy about it."

However, the broadcaster (73), who also plans on leaving Newstalk next year, revealed that his wife Ingrid is less enthusiastic about his retirement plans.

"Ingrid's not happy about it, that's the only downside," he said. "She has made it very clear that I'm not going to be rattling around the house - she won't allow me to. I think I'll have to take up a new hobby."

Fellow RTE pundit Brent Pope said that he'll miss the outspoken analyst, despite their "ups and downs".

"Of course I'll miss him. I've been there for 20 years and he's been there for 17, so it's a long time working together," he said. "We've had our ups and downs but it's been as much entertainment television as it has been rugby coverage.

"I think the last day will be quite emotional."

The New Zealander (52) also admitted he would like to take over from presenter Tom McGurk as he also prepares to leave the rugby panel after the Six Nations.

"I wouldn't mind replacing Tom because I think as you get older you have a better knowledge of the game," he said.

"Whether or not the fact that I don't have an Irish accent would be an issue, I don't know."

hnews@herald.ie

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