Convey Law employee Zen Szwagrzak describes first cap in International Rugby game Poland vs Netherlands as an “emotional, proud achievement” following the match on Saturday 29th February at the National Rugby Centre Amsterdam (NRCA stadium).
Szwagrzak, 29, played as captain at Monmouth Rugby Club under Chairman Lloyd Davies, Managing Director at Convey Law from 2017-2019. While captain the club achieved promotion twice from Division 3 East A to Division 2 2018, and then Division 2 to Division 1 in 2019.
“Lloyd asked me to play for Monmouth and gave me everything I need to be successful. I owe a lot of where I am to him.”
After playing for Monmouth for 3 years, in 2019 Szwagrzak transferred to Pontypool Rugby Club where he is currently playing his first season.
“I received a message from my coach Tom Hancock at Pontypool Rugby Club asking if I was interested in paying for Poland. A few days later I had a call from the head coach Duaine Lindsay saying their scouts in Wales had spotted me and they wanted me to fly out and train with them.”
Szwagrzak flew from Bristol to Warsaw on Tuesday 25th Feb to the team hotel where he met the coach, captain Piotr Zeszutek and a few of the players. The gruelling training regime started the following day at 7am with scrums and lineouts before breakfast, finishing on Friday with a Captain’s run through and final match prep.
“Before the game I was really nervous and quite emotional. It’s a massive thing for my parents, especially my dad. He has always wanted me to stay connected with my heritage, it made me quite emotional and proud. I was thinking about my dad in the tunnel.”
The Tighthead Prop supported a strong defence strategy to Netherlands who were 9 places above the Polish team in board rankings. Despite the gale force winds the Polish team kept Netherlands scoreless until the last few minutes of the game, with a final score of 7-6 to Netherlands.
After the match coach Stanislaw Wieciorek, who is the most capped player for Poland, said that in all his years playing, he had never seen a performance like that from a group of players in that situation.
“I feel emotional with what I have achieved, and I feel this is the beginning of something. I never thought this would happen at 29, I have always aspired to play to the at the highest level when I was a kid. I’m really proud to have done it. I would like to say a big thanks to everyone who has helped me along my journey.”
Lloyd Davies Managing Director at Newport firm Convey Law said:
“We are very proud of Zen and his achievements, both on and off the field of play. He is a rugby warrior and a real gentleman and it has been fantastic to see him start to achieve his potential as an international rugby player. Zen heads up our Mindstep Sporting Ambassador team, raising awareness, support and funding research for this mental health charity which is very close to our hearts. Keep up the great work Zennon – you are an inspiration to us all.”