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Former captain John Bergin reflects on retiring after 13 years playing for Diss Rugby Club





John Bergin says he will take a lot of fond memories away with him after calling time on his 13-year playing career at Diss Rugby Club.

The former Diss captain pulled on the armband one last time in the recent Norfolk Senior Cup clash with North Walsham II, in what was his last game for the club before retiring.

Bergin racked up more than 100 appearances during his time at Mackenders and was part of the title and promotion-winning squad that won London 2 North East in 2016/17.

John Bergin (centre) in action during his final game for Diss Rugby Club in their recent Norfolk Senior Cup clash with North Walsham II Picture: Mark Bullimore
John Bergin (centre) in action during his final game for Diss Rugby Club in their recent Norfolk Senior Cup clash with North Walsham II Picture: Mark Bullimore

It has been a memorable, but also unexpected, career for the second row, who only took up rugby with Diss when he moved to the area from his home in Ireland back in 2010.

“I joined Diss 13 years ago,” Bergin explained. “I came over from Ireland and I’d never played the game before.

“I was seeing a girl and she was from the area and at the time her brother was playing. I said to him ‘what do you do in England for sport?’

“He said ‘it’s either cricket or rugby.’ I said ‘I don’t like the thought of cricket so we’ll give the rugby a go!’

“I went along 13 years ago to do a bit of fitness with no intentions of playing and I soon fell in love with the game.

“I played gaelic football in Ireland and I lived in Australia for a few years where I played a bit of Aussie Rules over there, so I’m from a pretty sporting background. I do like the physical game.

“I’ve had some great times and I’m glad I joined Diss.

“After 13 seasons I feel the time is right. I do feel like I could carry on. The head wants to carry on, but the body won’t let me nowadays with a few injuries and getting old.

“I’ve made so many memories with friends.

“Rugby’s a game for all shapes and sizes and I’ve met some great characters along the way.

“When we got promoted from London 2 that was the main highlight.

“We had a really good team that year with a couple of imports from New Zealand like Sean McClure and Kimi Latu.

“That’s the joy of rugby. It brings different culutures into the game and everyone’s welcome.”

John Bergin captained Diss Rugby Club in his last game at Mackenders Picture: Mark Bullimore
John Bergin captained Diss Rugby Club in his last game at Mackenders Picture: Mark Bullimore

Bergin’s final game saw Diss narrowly lose out 19-14 to North Walsham at Mackenders, while last Saturday the club’s Saracens won the Norfolk Junior Cup with a 31-18 victory against Swaffham in the decider, which was held at Wymondham.

With more new and young faces looking to break into the first team squad, the departing former skipper believes the future is bright at Diss.

“There’s a lot of youngsters coming through which is great to see,” Bergin said. “It’s their time to shine now.

“I’ll still be involved in Diss. My youngest starts playing rugby in September for the Minis, so I’ll probably be chucked in there somewhere and get involved.

“In terms of adult rugby, I don’t know. I’m definitely taking a break for a bit.

“I can always see myself helping youngsters in training and giving words of wisdom, whether they like it or not!

“I just want to say thanks to Diss for the memories and I look forward to the future and cheering them on.”



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