A SQUAD of junior rugby players from the North-East have returned triumphant from an international tournament.

Darlington Rugby Club’s Under-15s took part in the RC Hilversum International Youth Rugby Festival in The Netherlands.

The boys embarked on the Holland Tour with the support of Newlands Group, which has its head office in Darlington, and has a growing portfolio of healthcare, recruitment, education and property companies.

And the Darlington players went through the tournament unbeaten, scoring wins over Luctonians RFC, Cas RC, Epping Upper Clapton RFC and Porthcawl RFC in the pool matches.

They then beat Kent club, Deal and Betteshanger, 10-0 in the final with some disciplined, impressive rugby in a hard-fought game. Over the course of the tournament, the Darlington players scored 144 points and conceded just 17.

Head coach Antony Lewis said: “The boys have had a fantastic season so far, and they still have the County Cup Final to play at the end of April.

“The tour was about relaxing and having some fun, with a bit of rugby thrown in, and the boys played amazingly well. It was clear from the outset that they were determined to give it their all, and they played in the true spirit of the game: respectful, disciplined, and professional at all times.

“We are all so proud of every single one of them for representing the club, their families and themselves so well and being true ambassadors of the game.”

Phil Crowther, founder of the Newlands Group, which funded the players’ tour shirts and supported other aspects of the trip, said: “What a fantastic result! International trips like this are great for developing life skills and that was our main motivation for sponsoring the boys, but to come back with the trophy is a bonus.”