Westport's Polish international sets sights on Junior Cup glory

25 January 2023

Westport's Polish international sets sights on Junior Cup glory

Kacper Palamarczuk’s rugby journey started with Westport rugby minis when he was just six years old.

The next stage of this journey will see him step out at the Arcul de Triumph in Bucharest on February 4th with hopes of helping his native Poland gain victory over Romania.

And when his playing career ends many years from now, Kacper hopes it includes an appearance at The Rugby World Cup with his native Poland. This ambition is paired with the goal of winning this year’s Bank of Ireland Connacht Junior Cup with Westport.

“My aim with Westport is to win the Cup this season. It would be great to bring it back home, while my main goal for Poland is to one day make it to the World Cup. It is very possible, especially with all the young talent and amazing coaching we have on board,” he said.

Those aims are certainly within reach for the 20-year-old, with Westport into the last four of this year’s Connacht Junior Cup, while Poland is an international side on the up after gaining promotion to this year’s Rugby Europe Championship.

It was in that promotion push where Kacper made his senior international debut, starting a crucial game against Lithuania last April when a positive result was needed.

Discussing the experience, he said: “It’s a really exciting experience to represent your country. Going into my first camp for Poland was a similar experience to going into the underage camp with Ireland. I knew it was going to be a high level and I needed to be ready for it.

“We needed to win with a bonus point in order to get promoted to the European Championships for the following season. It was a brilliant experience and we successfully got the bonus point win we need to make history for Poland”.

The talented backrow forward has previously impressed for Ireland U18 and as a member of underage Connacht teams. He was also a mainstay in Sligo Grammar’s backrow as they battled in the Connacht Schools Senior Cup.

It was with a Westport underage side when he first got notice that Poland was interested in acquiring his services.

“There was a tournament called the Rugby Amber Cup that I attended with Westport RFC in Poland. We ended up winning it and I got the Player of the Tournament Award. Shortly after that I got approached about the call-up. At the time I was still involved with Connacht, so I figured it wasn’t the right time,” he added.

However, since making the choice to join the international set-up, Kacper hasn’t looked back.

In fact, it appears Westport RFC has embraced the twenty-year-old lining out for his international side, with a surge in demand for Poland flags in the Mayo town in advance of Poland’s next competitive fixture in February.

“Everyone at Westport RFC is happy for me and they are being really supportive, with a few of my teammates even travelling to the Rugby European Championship against Romania,” he added.