Trinity was honoured to have been invited to participate in the World Schools Rugby Festival (WSF) in December, following our National Cup win in 2022 and it was a tour to remember. The WSF brings together the best rugby schools in the world to showcase school rugby and offer participants a life-changing opportunity and experience.
During the last week of term, 30 of Trinity’s senior rugby team travelled to the Pattana Sports Resort in Thailand to face top rugby-playing schools from South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and Wales. It was a very demanding 10 days for our students, as they’d had a challenging game against Harrow (which we won) before flying out on the tour to Thailand to play three games of top-level rugby while managing different time zones, climate and rugby styles.
Despite the very best efforts of our players, we didn’t walk away with a trophy this time. However, we were extremely proud of the way the boys conducted themselves on and off the pitch. The level of competition and emotions involved were high, but we feel the overall experience was hugely beneficial, giving our students an opportunity to meet peers from around the world and broaden their perspectives. It is also extremely good preparation for the National Cup matches we have coming up this term.
Outside of the rugby, the students managed to enjoy the country, local beaches, a bit of culture and it was a wonderful bonding experience. They faced off with the other teams in games of volleyball, inflatable water sports and even initiated a trading floor between other countries with their kits. Upper Sixth student Finn Kennedy says, “The friendships we made with other teams is definitely something memorable we’ll take from the tour.”
We’d like to thank all involved who made the trip happen including those parents who fundraised and our sponsors who helped to get us there with a brand-new kit, students and teachers who shared missed work from the final week, Trinity staff who had the tough job of chaperoning in Thailand and all those who supported the boys at home. Congratulations to Hamilton Boys High from New Zealand, the overall winners of the tournament.
A bit more on the rugby and behind-the-scenes insight from Finn Kennedy….
“Our first day started with an early breakfast due to the first tour training session at 10. In the 30-degree heat, the boys began a warm-up and realised immediately that this would be tough – constant hydration would be a regular theme through the week as we readied for our first clash against the mighty Grey College.”
Tournament Day One saw us face Grey College from South Africa, a school famed for producing many Springbok players and World Cup winners. Thousands tuned in to watch live as the teams battled it out on the pitch. Both teams scored tries quickly, but Grey College made a strong start, scoring well in the first half and it was challenging for our players to retain possession. Coming back in the second half, our determined defence kept Grey from scoring much more but the final score was 22-7 to Grey.
On Tournament Day Two we played St Michael’s School from Ireland in what was described as one of the closest games of the tournament. There was some exceptional play from our team, in particular great scores from Conor Byrne and Josh Bellamy and Trinity was ahead 19-8 with just minutes left on the clock. In a heart-breaking turn, St Michael’s managed to slot it through the posts and the final score was 19-20 to them.
“The following day we took an educational field trip to a local Hindu temple, which was set up a mountain so the views at the top were pretty spectacular. We then ventured into the market, where Bailey, the most experienced haggler, taught many of the boys the key to getting the price down when buying presents for family and friends. After lunch we spent the remainder of the afternoon beach-side with a few boys swimming out to the edge of the bay: their training for the day. Others decided to paddle around the shallows with 200 Baht rubber dinghies. Back at the hotel, we were treated to some live Muay Thai fights over dinner.”
Our final game was against Rugby Travel Academy, a South African school offering a full-time rugby programme. A fairly comfortable game, the final result was 43-7 Trinity and it was good to leave Thailand on a high.
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