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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Horan and Memphis Rugby Kids Hits At This Year's Lost Afternoon Luncheon

Press Release

Over 160 rugby enthusiasts from around the world kicked off their "Wallabies Weekend" in Chicago by attending the Lost Afternoon Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. In what is becoming a must-attend event on a test match weekend, the Lost Afternoon Luncheon is an afternoon of rugby fun.

The day's festivities started with an invocation by Chicago Hope Academy founder, Bob Muzikowski. U.S. Rugby Foundation Executive Director Brian Vizard then greeted those in attendance and thanked those groups that purchased tables for the luncheon and also Canterbury for their donation of the A Ball 4 All centerpieces. He also thanked Sysco Foods for their generous sponsorship of the LAL. He then acknowledged those USRF board members in the crowd, as well as the over 40 past U.S. Eagle players and coaches in attendance.

He also welcomed those U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame inductees present as well as presenting HOF pins to the 10 members of the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame Class of 2015 who were in the crowd.

Take the jump to read more.

He then turned the show over to former Eagles 7s and 15s great Brian Hightower, who acted as emcee for this year's Luncheon. He welcomed longtime Eagles manager Tristan Lewis and current team captain Chris Wyles to the stage and got their thoughts on the current U.S. team and the upcoming Rugby World Cup. He then brought up former Wallaby three-time World Cup performer Troy Coker and past U.S. Eagles captain Fred Paoli to look back on the 1987 RWC match between the two sides. While both of their memories were a bit hazy, they did agree there was a couple of dust ups between the two of them. However, they couldn't agree on who started them.

Next up on stage was Devin O'Brien, one of the founders of Memphis Inner City Rugby. His passion for MICR was obvious when he talked about the program and what the sport has done for some of the underserved kids in Memphis. To back up his point, he introduced Calvin Gentry and Montez Reed, two of the kids in MICR, to the crowd. They had the room's full attention as they described how the sport of rugby has impacted their lives.

Sysco Foods representative Neil Doherty followed up their speeches with a speech of his own on how companies can assist in the growth of rugby and the roles that Sysco and nutrition have in the future of the sport.

Next up was the day's keynote speaker, Australian rugby television personality and two-time Rugby World Cup winner with the Wallabies, Tim Horan. Tim had the crowd's attention early on as he described the kind words he received to test rugby from the All Blacks Richard Loe. From there he went on to talk about many of the players he played with and against over the years, always keeping those in attendance entertained.

After presenting Brian and Tim with thank you gifts for their participation in the Chicago Lost Afternoon Luncheon, Vizard closed out the program with a raffle of several autographed USA and Australian jerseys signed by past and present Eagle and Wallaby players.

Several more jerseys signed by past and present U.S. and Australia players will go on auction next week.

Images from the Chicago Lost Afternoon Luncheon will also be available for viewing on the USRF website (www.usrugbyfoundation.org) beginning next week.

The USRF thanks all those who attended this year's Lost Afternoon Luncheon.

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