U13A Rugby Tour

With what seemed like weeks and weeks of build up to the start of tour, many boys, staff and parents kept asking me what I was most looking forward to. My answer was the same every time: the rugby. Not the results, the hotel, food nor the ‘banter’, but going away and taking the rugby that we play with us and performing it to whoever we came up against. Therefore, with this in mind and the natural excitement that the start of a tour creates, it was great to release that energy almost immediately into some rugby.

The Ludgrove game was a great mix of tactical kicking and brute force in the tackle and breakdown area. Scoring three unanswered tries in the first half, the boys were feeling confident going into the second;  however Ludgrove had other ideas and fought well to get a try back. This stirred our boys up again and they managed to score another try to seal the victory. A quick clean, change, and we were travelling down the M3 towards our tour destination, The Isle of Wight.

Arriving at the ferry port five minutes after check in closes had the tour manager a little worried, but due the heavy fog on the Solent they were running half an hour late so luckily there was no need for the boys to start swimming. After the pleasant crossing the hotel was only ten minutes away so it was not long before the boys had marvelled at their lavish sea view rooms that lead out on to our very own beach, and were enjoying the pool, Jacuzzi and for some the free Wifi. Next on the itinerary was feeding time at the very notable Cow Co. The boys and staff were very impressed with this hidden gem. Then it was back to the hotel to watch the Wales V Ireland game, where some of the boys showed off some interesting alternative commentary skills.

After a good night’s rest and a full English, we walked over to the Needles in very thick fog. However, to the boys delight as we got to the first viewpoint the fog vanished, and out shot the phones for the all-important selfie with the Needles. When we made it back it was time for lunch, fish’n’chips on the beach in the sunshine. Perfect! Then match kit ready, load up the bus and set off for our next slice of the rugby.

When we arrived at Ryde and were taken into their modern, large pavilion, with a balcony that looked over the pitch the boys were going to play on, you could see that this was not Ryde School anymore: this was a stadium and when the balcony filled with our own supporters you could see the boys stand two inches taller. This pitch wasn’t on the Isle of Wight anymore: Elstree had descended on it and we felt like it was ours. The match was pretty even in the tight areas with our forwards’ physicality being tested but winning through in the end; however our backs were on fire and seemingly could score at will! The final score was 8-0 to Elstree. A great way to finish a good season.

More rugby to follow as we were able to catch the second half of the England V Scotland game, and the boys enjoyed seeing the local boy JJ get his hat-trick.

So with two from two and lots of food, laughter and ‘fines’ it was a very successful tour, and something the boys will remember for a long time.

AFJW