Eagles in the Spotlight

Sebastian V. '12

Alumnus Sebastian V. ‘12 was an outstanding JV and Varsity rugby player during his time at our school and has now become our first international rugby player. In October 2015 Sebastian was awarded his first cap for the Denmark National Rugby Union Team.

In fact, Sebastian first started his rugby career right here at ISZL, then The Riverside School. Sebastian remembers being 13 years old and a bit dozy during his first family meeting at the school with Ms Schoepfer from Admissions. However, once she mentioned rugby, Sebastian woke up.

With fantastic coaches like Mr Newman and Mr Eaton, Sebastian was able to perfect his Number 8 position with strong running and tackling. Mr Newman even supported Sebastian to become a certified rugby coach; a skill he still uses to this day.

Not only did Sebastian play for ISZL, he also climbed the ranks of Zug Rugby Club and played senior rugby in Aegeri, Switzerland. At one point, Sebastian was part of Zurich Rugby Club and travelled to there every other day to train with older, more experienced players who were contending for a place on the Swiss national team. Sebastian reflects, “I threw myself into a completely different level of rugby playing. I realise now I was out of my mind tackling guys double my size and trying to keep up at fitness sessions.” Now that’s dedication!

Sebastian’s ISZL Rugby Varsity Coach Newman remarks, “To say Sebastian lived for his rugby would be a massive understatement. Just walking passed him in the school corridors each day he would take time to discuss the latest games (whilst donning his latest rugby shirt purchase) from the world of rugby or our current school team status and to check that training was going to happen as scheduled. He was first to training and helping with equipment, ensuring we had everything in place for the highlight of his week.”

Even after so much commitment to the sport, upon graduating from ISZL and suffering from a knee injury, Sebastian took time to consider whether rugby was really what he wanted to do. The sport had been his identity for so many years and took nearly all his time on weekday nights and weekends. Obviously Sebastian couldn’t stay away and we’re sure that he doesn’t regret that decision!

In 2014 Sebastian moved to Denmark and joined CSR Nanok playing Number 8 and coaching children. Through this network of coaches, Sebastian connected with Mikael Lai, Denmark’s national coach, who became very interested and started following Sebastian’s development. It was when he was invited to attend the national team’s training camp that things really started to happen. Sebastian describes the moment that Michael Bransholm, Denmark’s national forwards coach, called asking if he’d be interested in representing Denmark against Austria: “Without even needing to think I shouted ‘yes’, had a short conversation with Bransholm and ran back to class like a little boy on his way to buy sweets.”

Then came game day in Odense, Denmark against Austria. After a light training and kick-off, Sebastian explains how normally a game would fly by quickly, “but not this one! I was so exited and nervous at the same time and I couldn't wait to get on the pitch.” Finally Coach Lai subbed Sebastian in and he was able to help the team reduce Austria’s lead, but sadly didn’t take the match. Even without a win, Sebastian is “over the moon [he] even gotten into the game and made some good carries.”

When we asked Sebastian how he felt playing for DRU, he shared: “Obviously I'm extremely happy and honoured to have worn the red of Denmark and hopefully it isn't the last time. Right now we are going through selection for our game against Slovinia next month. Hopefully that will be my second cap.

It was a delight to hear about Sebastian’s recent international cap. We have no doubt that he will gain many more and hope that one day he will return to share his experiences with our current ISZL rugby players.

You can watch DRU and Sebastian play by checking their game schedule. We wish Sebastian all the best!

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