Junior Race Bates participated in a two-week international trip to Ireland this summer with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA). He played in three games with an all-star team consisting of players from 13 different states. They practiced for two weeks, holding multiple practice sessions a day between the games.
“It was tough, but it was so much fun,” recalled Bates. “The difference in my rugby skills after going to Ireland makes me a completely different player. Rugby in Ireland is a different game.”
He is coached by EIRA club director Salty Thompson, who has fueled his love of the sport. After playing freshman football at Brophy, Bates played the game for the first time and was hooked. He was inspired by an older brother, Streater Bates ‘15, who plays the sport with Belize National team now after flirting with college football at the Air Force Academy and Brown.
Bates is all-in for the upcoming Brophy season that will include 7s returning this fall, as well as the 15s season in the spring.
“I am focusing on what is next,” said Bates, who will participate in the EIRA Winter Camp in Casa Grande. “What can I do tomorrow to get me somewhere else.”
The Broncos reached the championship match last season but fell short. They look to take the next step this season. Bates says the team is motivated and brings a strong roster of new and returning players.
“The goals for the season we are looking to win a championship,” said Bates. “We did not finish, and it was a tough loss.”