Shaw Cross Sharks player Ryan Chalkley has shared his thoughts on the experience of touring with the BARLA Lions.
Chalkley was one of the stand out players for Shaw Cross last season, which saw them relegated from National Conference Division One, but his impressive displays earned him a call-up to the Lions squad.
BARLA lost 28-20 to the Australian Affiliated States and then went down 32-16 in an ill-tempered game against Fiji Bati Residents last Friday in the International Tri Series.
Chalkley featured on the wing against Fiji Bati Residents but despite suffering defeat, he was delighted with his experiences on his first Lions tour, which also saw the Sharks man experience his first time on an aeroplane, first time on a boat and first time in a test team.
The 25-year-old full-back said: “It was a bit surreal and I think it will only really sink in when I get home and I think of all the things we have seen and done.
“A tour is what the lads make it. We do what we have to, we have a job to do, we have a bit of fun and we go home and get back to our families.”
The BARLA Lions visited villages while in Fiji and Chalkley reflected on the experiences, saying: “You don’t realise how much you take for granted until you see how other people live. It has been class to see people living their every day lives, nothing affects them.”
Chalkley also reflected on the Shaw Cross Sharks season, which saw them relegated from National Conference Division One, despite him scoring 11 tries and kicking 30 goals to earn the Lions call-up.
He added: “It was a bit of a tough one to be fair, we started off pretty well, then we lost our coach. He got sacked and a load of players followed him elsewhere.
“We were left in a bit of a rut. We were travelling to some places without 13 players and unfortunately ended up getting relegated from Division One.”
Chalkley added: “Personally, I had a pretty good season. I put quite a few points on the board and have had one of the best years of my career, obviously culminating in this international call-up.
“I’m here on the other side of the world for the first time in my life, never been on a plane or on a boat before, they are all firsts and they won’t be the last.”