On the 26th June forty players, five staff and a physiotherapist embarked on a 3 week rugby tour to the Southern hemisphere, to play school teams in the greatest rugby playing nation in the world!
Where were they from?
Ballyclare High School of course the home of Ireland and Ulster Rugby legend Gary Longwell no less! Not to mention a proud tradition of rugby since the 1940s
The rumours had been circulating that their hosts in New Zealand were looking forward to showing “The Poms” how to play rugby!
Well, it is with great pride that we bring you this update on how the tour is going and a joy to confirm that Ballyclare High have delivered some great rugby on tour and thrilled their opponents, taking winning and losing in their stride they have acted as great ambassadors for our sport and Ulster Rugby. They can hold their heads high and are sure to be relishing the final games of their tour.
We reproduce here the game 3 match reports from the two Ballyclare squads, the U15 and U16 XV which have been posted on their tour blog which you can visit here Website Click Here
NZ Tour U15 (B Team)
This Dunstan High team was undefeated prior to this game. From the opening minutes their very impressive backline of big powerful runners displayed ominous potential. On a number of occasions in the first 10 minutes Dunstan had opportunities to take points from penalties. They were confident in their lineout but Ballyclare defended resolutely close in and Dunstan came away empty-handed.
Ballyclare eventually achieved dominance in the lineout with clean catches allowing the forwards to create a good platform from which the backs played with increasing confidence. Jack Irvine at outhalf dictated tactics and inspired the players. Responding to sideline encouragement to “run with purpose”. James Buckley broke through the mid field to score in the corner. The conversion was missed and the score was 5-0.
After the restart David Lawther threw 2 dummies and James Greer followed up to score a converted try leaving the score 12-0. This was followed by a strong riposte from Dunstan but Ballyclare defended resolutely until the half time whistle was blown.
Throughout the game James Buckley impressed with both ball in hand and with decoy runs. From a lineout in the early stages of the second half he hacked through leading to Luke Montgomery being held up near the line. From the resulting ruck Michael Kirk crashed over to leave the score 17-0.
Dunstan responded with aggressive play and after sustained pressure in Ballyclare’s 22m the opposition outhalf broke the line and score a converted try under the posts. A period of good handling led to Luke Montgomery scoring a try which was unconverted to leave the score 22-7. An excellent tackle by Luke Ireland led to a counter-attack and Jack Irvine moved the ball open and with a well timed decoy run from Buckley good ground was made. Excellent rucking and fast recycling put intense pressure on Dunstan’s defence and Ballyclare back row James McKee (subbing in at 6) pounced on a loose Dunstan ball and the resulting try was converted by Jack Irvine leaving the final score 29-7. Man of the match was awarded to James Buckley.
U16 XV (A Team)
On the cold, frosty pitches of Dunstan High School the champagne rugby that has been associated with this team flowed again. The backline started the game brightly and Peter Ferguson was released within a couple of minutes of the start and scored an unconverted try in the corner. This excellent start was turned flat immediately from the restart as several missed tackles led to a Dunstan score which was unconverted leaving the scores at 5-5. This relapse led to a spirited response by the Ballyclare boys and Paddy Reid scrambled a try after picking up a loose ball leaving the score at 10-5. An excellent training ground move led to a score by Eddie McKee which again was unconverted leaving the score at 15-5. Grant Bartley capped an impressive first half performance by scoring from a text book No 8 pick up. An excellent conversion by Chris Harvey left the half time score at 22-5.
The pace in the second did not slacken and immediately from a 5m scrum Paddy Reid crashed over again from a back row move. This was unconverted leaving a 27-5 scoreline. Again Paddy Reid came to the fore and when released by Johnny Holmes he fed Peter Ferguson who scored under the posts. The conversion kick was successful 34-5. Ballyclare dominated the lineout and a powerful forward drive allowed Johnny Craig to score his first try of the tour. Chris Harvey converted to leave the score 41-5. Jack Irvine replaced Chris Millar at scrum half and in some fine work Daniel Goudie scored an unconverted try. A bone crunching tackle by Ian Moxen led to a turnover ball which allowed Peter Ferguson to score his 4th try of the match which was unconverted leaving a final score of Ballyclare High School 51 Dunstan High School 5.
Well done to Ballyclare High. InTouch will be bringing you more from the tour over the next few days.