1st XV Rugby Tour

On the Thursday, 12th March 2015 the 1st XV set of at five in the morning to Gatwick for the rugby tour. Although the flight was a little bumpy and the airhostess nearly had a heart attack when we asked whether 20 ham and cheese toasties were available, we arrived safely, if a little sleepy in Dublin. After a brief bus journey, we arrived at the hotel to the smell of chicken and rice. After lunch we set off to play St. Michaels, with the bus journey seeing plenty of music and banter! With a strong 22-0 win under our belt the celebrations were huge! Andrew Holmes and myself scored two tries each. At 10:30 pm the sweets ran out so we decided to end the celebrations and go to bed.

The next morning we had a long training session and a few games at the end. These included spinning round a rugby ball and then kicking it off the tee in a dizzy haze! After lunch we went to Willow Park. Unfortunately we lost 17-12; Tom Vincent and Andrew Holmes scored our tries. The Willow Park coaches said it was one of the best games they have played and the “Dads on tour” said it was a very exiting and well-played match. The school looked after us very well and gave us a big match tea where we got to know the Irish boys who told us about Hurling, Gaelic Football and Rugby in Ireland. In the evening Mr Champkin gave us a “Question of Sport” quiz. The questions included identifying rugby players, Ireland Trivia and random sport facts. My team: Tom Vincent, Louis Giffard-Moore, Dimity Chizhov and Henry Bentley won comfortably by more than ten points.

On Saturday we played NASE rugby club and won 19-17 with Tom Houston, Myles Ward and Andrew Holmes scoring tries. After the match we found a McDonalds to have lunch in and ordered lots of healthy food (well Andrew and Toby had salad)!  We then got a tour of Dublin and went to Phoenix Park. We were lucky enough to meet an ex-Hurling player who showed us some tricks and told us about the game. We went to the Guinness factory and took some selfies by the gates. A few of the workers had dressed up in green costumes and were dancing and playing music on drums.  We danced along and, again, took more selfies.  At the Aviva stadium we got to go into the shop and got a quick peek onto the pitch; at the airport we picked up some Irish Leprechauns and Guinness hoodies. 

Overall it was a great experience that we will never forget. A massive thank you to Mr Perry for organising the Tour, and also to Mr Portsmouth and Mr Champkin for looking after us in Ireland.

Christian Johnson