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Year 9 Rugby success in Italy
The Year 9 rugby team travelled to Italy to take part in one of the biggest junior tournaments in world rugby the ‘Topolino’ played at Benetton Treviso. This event hosts over 6000 junior players from 6-14 years old!!
The tour party met at Manchester Airport for a 7.30am flight to Venice which meant we arrived in Italy by 11am. That afternoon we settled into our hotel in Lido de Jesolo and spent the afternoon on the beach training and enjoying the sunshine. An early night was had by all so we were ready for our trip to Venice on Friday morning. A day in Venice never fails to impress and the boys explored the back streets, went on a gondola and ate lots of gelato! We arranged to meet up at Piazza San Marco at 4pm and were very impressed that everybody was there on time. We arrived back at our hotel and headed back to the beach. The next day was when the rugby started so another early night was had by all in readiness for the main event.
We arrived at Silea rugby club which was to be our venue for the next two days and went about the process of registration otherwise known as disorganised chaos!! With the help of the very fluent Italian speaking Mr Mason this process was made a little easier. Our first game at 9am was the first of the day and was our only loss out of 9 games. This was due to a dodgy linesman who enabled a player to run out of touch by over a metre to score a try, much to the delight of Mr O’Keefe! After this game we gathered the squad together and encouraged them to relax and enjoy the experience of playing in another country as it is can be quite daunting. They took our advise and responded by winning the next six games and in the process scoring some good tries and playing some excellent rugby. I have to add to this that they were playing in temperatures of a very sapping 80oC. At the end of a very hot day we had qualified second in the group which meant we had progressed to playing the next day at the same venue. After a hard day's rugby we were able to relax a little as the whole squad headed into Treviso and went for a delightful Italian meal.
The next morning we headed back to Silea rugby club to play in the final rounds which meant another 3 games. The weather had a more English feel about it as it poured with rain all morning. We won the three games and came second overall out of 42 teams. This was a great achievement from a squad that have won few games since their time at the College. To top it all we were invited to the Benetton Treviso stadium to collect the fair play award which is given to the team who played within the spirit of the game during the tournament. This was a great accolade and one which the boys can feel very proud to receive and was justly deserved.
From a coach's point of view I feel there is a lot of potential in this team and what this tour has enabled the squad to do is to give them confidence to realise that they are good enough to win games. Like all sports but particularly rugby what goes in the mind can often determine results and how effective a team performs. I hope this trip has given the squad confidence for next season and they are all looking forward to carrying on this success.
The whole squad performed well and I would like to thank them all for their efforts but as is traditional on the College’s tours we do like to reward players for their individual contribution. The best forward of the tour went to Jay Holcroft, the best back went to Sean Stenhouse, the most improved forward went to James Dunleavey and the most improved back went to Joe Cook. Sam Burford and Dominic Morris deserve a special mention for their leadership.
On behalf of all the staff I would like to thank all the boys for making the tour so successful and enjoyable. Several times during the tour people unknown to us would come up and compliment them on how well behaved and pleasant they all were. Their behaviour and general demeanour was exemplary and they were a credit to themselves, their parents and the College.
Mr D Hill