Rugby in Ireland
Friday March 6
We arrived! Flight from London to Dublin was smooth, the boys were tired but excited about being on tour. Some of the boys helped an older gentleman with his bags and his wife said, “typical Canadians, always helping out”. Upon arriving in Dublin, we were met by our tour guide John A. MacDonald and driver Greg, then drove by coach to our hotel. Checked in, then superb three course meal in their restaurant: mushroom soup, roast chicken, farmhouse cheesecake. Found out that we are playing tomorrow (tomorrow!) v Wesley College, both juniors and seniors. Straight into it. Then sightseeing in Dublin.
Saturday March 7
The boys are feeling the effects of jet lag - some were up at 4am this morning. Breakfast at 8, then onto the bus at 9:30. Two boys were late, which is an improvement, as most boys are now heeding Mr Patel’s rule number one: don’t be late. We arrived at Wesley College, a traditionally rugby powerhouse, for two games at 10:45am.
The juniors had their moments, with Oliver C and Beau B running hard, and while we lost the match, it was a good performance considering we had just assembled as a team. I was very pleased with the passing accuracy and work rate, and that the boys never dipped. Oliver C and Will H scored tries off some nice build-up, and Damian and Corbin H combined for a superb try that involved a crushing tackle, counter-ruck, and dotting down.
In the senior game, the boys moved the ball well and made several line breaks, but lacked some organization defensively to contain a well-oiled Wesley outfit that was in mid-season form. Coach Thompson was happy that the boys improved over the course of the game, and was proud that they stayed in the fight. All the coaches can see that this tour will be excellent preparation for our season ahead.
After the rugby games, we headed into Dublin city where we visited the Epic Ireland Emigration museum, which chronicles the history of the Irish diaspora that spans the globe. The boys learned that Irish emigration was born out of tragedy and desperation, but was ultimately a story of redemption and opportunity. After the museum, some free time and shopping before returning to the hotel. We have told the boys they need to stay awake till 9pm. As I write, they are trying to do so by drinking water, getting fresh air, and just generally mucking around.
Mr Phil Smith, Coach