Friday 30 September 2016

Immersing ourselves in a new rugby culture at school in South Africa

Paddy O’Boy, Felix Campbell, Connall Howley & Edward Mahood - TY students at King's Hospital.

Published 27/05/2016 | 02:30

Action involving the King's Hospital boys in South Africa
Action involving the King's Hospital boys in South Africa

This trip to South Africa by us, the four King's Hospital TY students, has been an incredible experience.

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The first day we arrived, Muir College head of rugby Mr Gouws and his son Carter greeted us.

They brought us to Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape and then out to the school and there was a barbecue in his house where we met other Muir staff for the first time who were also very welcoming.

We started rugby training the following day.

Paddy O'Boy was born in 2000 so he wasn't old enough to play 'Open' like the other three of us so he was training with the U-16s.

The school's first fixture was against Union High. Match day is a big school event here, starting with the U-14s and moving up the age groups, with the crowds get bigger as the day progresses.

At the start of each game the two schools form a tunnel and chant as the opposition run through the tunnel.

The U-16 game was a draw as Muir came back from 17-0 down. The others played seconds and had a convincing win over Union High. The last game of the day is the 1st XV and the whole school attends.

We attended our first Super 15 game at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth. The local side, the Southern Kings, lost to the Highlanders, from New Zealand. The standard of was very high; in these conditions it was a very fast and open game.

We attend school each day here at Muir, which has around 800 pupils. When not in school we can use the school gym and the outdoor swimming pool.

Festival

We took part in a rugby festival at Grey High school last weekend. We had tough games against Hudson Park from East London and St Alban's from Pretoria.

We would like to say a big thank you to the staff at Muir College. We have really appreciated the opportunity to be on this trip and have really enjoyed it so far. We are here till early July, so lots of time left to enjoy this amazing country.

Irish Independent

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