At the end of term in June 45 boys from Year 11 & 12 and 6 staff departed from Dublin for New Zealand on a three-week rugby tour. The tour coincided with the final week of the Lions tour and meant that NZ was in a bit of a rugby frenzy at the time. We were transported around NZ by Kyle and his bus from Kiwi Experience which gave us plenty of opportunity to take in the fabulous scenery.
The performance of the boys in winning 9 out of 10 matches was remarkable. We were playing top schools throughout the country. Some of the matches were effected by opposition schools having players playing up on their 2nd XV and therefore weakening the U16 matches. The quality of our rugby was excellent. We were able to carry out 6 full training sessions on top of playing matches, other days included video review or unit skill workshops. We were also fortunate to get tours of the Chiefs and Crusaders training bases and attend the Highlanders home match against the Reds in the indoor stadium in Dunedin.
The impact the school holidays had on the fixtures was significant. The first 2 fixtures were in term time and we were able to experience a little of school life. The CBHS fixture was on the weekend school broke up and they had worked hard to ensure our experience was excellent. The final 2 fixtures were in the middle of the holidays and this impacted greatly. Timaru Boys went the extra mile however to ensure the fixtures went ahead in terrible conditions under foot and overhead.
V Hamilton Boys High School
U16 won 21-17 Tries Simon Jackson, Daniel Eakin & Robin McIlveen & 3 conversions
U15 lost 7-19 Try Ross Smyth. Carter Clydesdale conversion
V Tauranga Boys
U16 won 66 -0 Tries Angus Adair (2), Daniel Eakin, Aj Hussell, Stuart Cameron (2), Bradley McNamara, Matthew Johnston & Robin McIlveen (2) and 8 conversions.
U15 won 22-10. Tries Rory Adair (2), Stuart McAuley, Hugo Ellerby. Carter Clydesdale conversion.
V Christchurch Boys High School
U16 won 52-14. Tries Stuart Cameron (2), Bradley McNamara, Ben Campbell, Ewan Magee (2), Robin McIlveen and 4 conversions.
U15 won 36-7 Tries Hendon DuToit, Stuart McAuley (2), Jonny Cuthbert, Keelan Sloan, Oscar Lowe. Carter Clydesdale 3 conversions.
V Otago Boys High School
U16 won 51-10 Tries AJ Hussell, Max Preston, Ewan Magee, Keelan Sloan, Bradley McNamara (4), Robin McIlveen and 3 conversions.
U15 won 57-0 Tries Rory Adair, Hendon DuToit, Matthew Johnston, Carter Clydesdale, Jude Postlethwaite, Jack Truesdale (2), Cameron Johnston, Jonny Cuthbert. Clydesdale 6 conversions.
V Timaru Boys High School
U16 won 24-0. Tries Jared Wait, Bradley McNamara, Ben Campbell & Reece Anderson. McIlveen 2 conversions.
U 15 won 15-0. Tries Jonathan Mitchell, Keelan Sloan, Jack Truesdale.
Without doubt the highlight of the tour for the boys, and staff, was Queenstown. In Queenstown the boys were given a break from rugby and engaged in some of the adventure activities on offer. The stand out was the 'Triple Challenge'; helicopter, white water rafting and jet boating. What added to the day for us was that we completed it all in a snow blizzard! The luging in the snow was also well received as was the snow ball fight on top of the mountain!
The overnight stay at Tamaki Maori Village was an excellent insight into the culture of the maori people. Angus Adair performed heroically as our 'Chief' for this 24 hours.
The use of the RBAI Facebook page worked very well with traffic matching that of Schools Cup time. The boys were excellent at writing a short report on their phone and sending it to staff on their designated day. I did not have to chase anyone.
The boys were hosted on 7 nights with opposition schools. Although apprehensive the boys thoroughly enjoyed the billeting experience and it would be a desperate shame if this great tradition is lost to the red tape of the 21st Century. The boys were treated magnificently. The highlight of the hosting was Chris Todd being driven an hour and a half south of Christchurch to stay on a farm in Methven. Chris being a keen farmer himself was in complete heaven and has made his mind up to return for a GAP year following his A levels!
The boys stayed in Holiday Parks which were perfect and thoroughly enjoyed. The highlight of the accommodation however was the hotel in Queenstown which was our 'treat' stay. The boys were in pairs in rooms overlooking Lake Wakatipu.
The final night we hired a room at a local restaurant for an end of tour dinner and awards.
The Awards given out were as follows
Player of the Tour U16 - Angus Adair
Player of the Tour U15 - Alex Weir
Most Improved Back U16 - Ewan Magee U15 Carter Clydesdale
Most Improved Forward U16 - Daniel Eakin U15 Thomas Hall
Top Try Scorer - Bradley McNamara 7
Top Points Scorer - Robin McIlveen 54
Best individual performance - Bradley McNamara against Otago Boys scoring 4 tries.
This has been a magnificent tour which has fulfilled its objectives. The tour is part of a 5-year plan. Three of those years have been the planning and fundraising which was driven by parents and staff. The tour was to develop the boys as rugby players and the performances and results are evidence of that. The tour was also to develop young men who would have the character to contribute to RBAI as both rugby players but more importantly as engaged up standing citizens who can represent our community as future prefects, leaders and possibly Head of School.