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​​Aussie Rules for Openreach engineer

Press Release   •   Aug 01, 2017 10:34 BST

Every year thousands of Brits catch a flight down-under for a summer-break in Australia in search of sun, sand and sea.

Among those that will be Oz-bound this summer is Cardiff based Openreach engineer, Owain Ryland.

But Owain’s trip to the sunnier climes of Australia will be different to the majority as he will be representing Team GB at Aussie Rules in the AFL International Cup in Melbourne.

As the only Welshman in the 28-man squad Owain, 27, will be flying the flag for Wales as Team GB take on Ireland, Canada, Fiji and South Africa in their group before hopefully making the knock-out stages.

Owain plays AFL for the Cardiff Panthers at St Peter’s RFC and is taking unpaid leave from his day job of jointing fibre cables across South Wales for Openreach, Britain’s digital network business, to take part in the tournament.

Owain, who’s been working for Openreach for the last four years, explains: “The AFL International Cup is the pinnacle for every amateur AFL player and I can’t wait to get out there and represent Team GB.”

“There are some really good teams in the tournament and it’ll be very hard but you never know – we’re going out there to win it.

“As an amateur sport we have to fund the entire trip ourselves. Openreach have been really supportive in allowing me to take some unpaid leave to make the trip. I’m sure l’ll have plenty of fibre to joint when I get back!”

This year’s AFL International Cup, which will see the final being played at the world famous 100,000 capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, starts on August 5th with countries from North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific all taking part.