WHEN overseas players make the move to Catalans Dragons or Toulouse Olympique, the greatest piece of advice people give them is to immerse themselves in the culture.
The likes of Sam Tomkins, Michael McIlorum and Mike McMeeken have done that in Catalans whilst Olly Ashall-Bott, Joe Bretherton and now Reubenn Rennie have done that at Toulouse.
For Rennie, a 28-year-old Cook Islands international, it was his first taste of France when he joined Olympique ahead of the 2023 Championship season.
However, it’s fair to say that he is loving life in l’Hexagon and is fully getting to grips with his new surroundings and all it has to offer.
“Toulouse have been awesome, pretty much from the day we landed they helped us get set up with everything and helped us settle in,” Rennie told League Express.
“Everyone at the club have been really good and the boys are a really close-knit group. The city is very nice, me and my family are really enjoying it.
“The French side of it, speaking the different language, I thought it would be a bigger challenge! I’m still not perfect and we are still learning French.
“We get classes every week so it’s been awesome. I’ve really tried to immerse myself in the culture and tried to speak French as best as I can.
“I’ve got three kids and two boys go to a French school down the road so they are probably much better than me at the moment!
“Learning a new culture and language, it’s been great. It’s something you don’t get to do often.”
At present, Rennie is focusing on getting back on the field after suffering a serious Achilles injury after 13 games of the 2023 season.
But, the winger has a lot to thank the French healthcare system for, especially after it has helped Rennie speed up the recovery process with an incredible facility that workers can use if hurt at work.
“The injury was the big thing that happened last year. Coming to a club and doing your Achilles in your first year isn’t ideal but I’ve been quite fortunate to be fair.
“Toulouse are one of the better clubs to be at if something like that did happen. Especially being in France, the healthcare system is very good which has made it a lot easier and we’ve had a lot of support from the club, the boys and we’ve got a good group of friends that have really helped us out whilst I’ve been injured.
“I’ve actually had some good experiences being out injured. I got to go to the rehab centre down in Capbreton which was a good thing to do.
“I’m not 100% sure how it 100% works but if you are working and get hurt at work – which obviously I was playing footy – I got the chance to go to the rehab centre on the west coast near Biarritz, Capbreton.
“I could spend a couple of weeks there and go back a couple of times for my injury. You get full care there, there are saunas, you can ice it, pools and recovery machines with specific rehab for your injury.
“That was massive and helped speed up the process and get me back to where I am now.
“Getting back to playing is a tough ride but I’m almost there now. You wouldn’t ask for such an injury but when you get through it and you see the end, it’s a good thing.”
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