Rugby Union

Army rugby player's 'emotional' Switzerland debut

Watch: Sergeant Tom Zuger talks about his journey in Rugby and playing for Switzerland.

Cyprus-based Army Sergeant Tom Zuger is just getting started on the international rugby scene after joining the Swiss International Rugby Team this year.

Having played rugby since he was three and with grandparents who hail from the Swiss town of Schaffhausen, Sgt Zuger jumped at the opportunity when the Swiss Rugby Federation made an appeal for overseas players with Swiss ancestry to come and trial for their national team. 

After he trialled successfully, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Land Systems Technician now looks to the future with the Swiss team after having already played in a fixture against Ukraine, where the Swiss team won 32-59.

Speaking to BFBS, he said: "I didn't really know much about the Swiss Rugby Team. This year my dad sent me a post from the Swiss Review, and it said they were looking for international overseas players. 

"So, it's something I thought I'd give it a go, and I've been to a few training camps in their national sports centre, and they went well, and then I got the call-up to the national squad."

After playing against Ukraine on 11 March, Sgt Zuger is set to play for the Swiss team again when they go up against Croatia on 1 April and, with the team's hopes of achieving promotion in the future, the RAF Akrotiri-based sergeant said he is "looking forward to being involved" with the Swiss team going forward. 

He said: "I'm really looking forward to being involved with Switzerland. The next fixture to finish the season is against Croatia and if that goes well, then we've topped the table.

"And next year, we'll play the same fixtures in reverse, so a lot more fixtures at home in Switzerland, and then with the possibility to promote, and if that goes well then we'll be playing the likes of Georgia, Portugal and The Netherlands so, yes, some exciting fixtures."


Tom Zuger with Ukrainian player
Tom Zuger played with the Swiss team against Ukraine on 11 March where they won 32-59. (Credit: Tom Zuger).

Also a player for the RAF Akrotiri rugby team, Sgt Zugar says juggling his military and rugby career is "about getting the balance right".

He said: "I have always been told about getting the balance right and that's something as a technician myself, as long as I can put the work in, it keeps my line manager and my bosses happy. 

"So, if I put that work in, it allows me to continue progressing in my military career and also having the benefits of being able to travel overseas and play rugby."

Speaking of how it felt to play for Switzerland for the first time, Sgt Zuger said that the moment was "quite emotional".

He said: "It was quite emotional, I had my parents with me, and I had my wife and my daughter with me. I always get nervous and my hairs always stand up on the back of my neck when I play.

"But to be able to represent your country, I definitely made myself proud and I'm hoping that I can make my grandparents proud as well."

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