Lurgan College Rugby Tour to South Africa July 2016

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Lurgan College Rugby Tour to South Africa July 2016

Following their heroics during the Currie Cup warm game against George High School the Lurgan College party left Plettenburg Bay by the coastal route to Cape Town and spent the first morning on a whale watching trip around Plet Bay where they encountered and interacted with an array of whales, sharks and seals!! En route to Cape Town the squad stopped over at Mossel Bay and spent the night in the beautiful town of Hermanus.

On arrival in Cape Town the squad spent the afternoon in Langa Township walking around the schools and streets and having lunch in the now famous Sheila’s Café. They then settled into their hotel close to the waterfront at the V&A centre in Cape Town.

Next day the tour party took the opportunity to sail to Robben Island and travel up to the top of Table Mountain. The sunny weather afforded the Lurgan College party the opportunity for some spectacular sightseeing. On Tuesday the entire squad drove to Paul Roos School in Stellenbosch for a coaching session with the Stellenbosch University coaches where they met the Springbok winger, Cornel Hendricks, who was playing touch on the next pitch with his mates on lunchtime from their offices!

After the usual sightseeing around the city on Wednesday the squad left their hotel at 6.30am on Thursday for the drive up to Malmesbury for the opening game of the Swartland Rugby Festival. Here the team played the opening game of the festival against Hopefield High School. This was a huge team up front with fast, slick backs who displayed a really exciting brand of schoolboy rugby. The Lurgan College team lost the game by 31-8. They went 7-0 down early on from huge pick and drives from the Hopefield forwards before unleashing a superb back line to run in a simple try on the left wing which was converted by their out half. Back Lurgan came and Robbie Norton kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to 7-3 and give his team some hope. Tired bodies were on show and, after Robbie Norton left the field with an eye injury and Ben McAlister with a damaged shoulder, the going got tough for the visitors. Two more tries by the excellent Hopefield team left the score at 19-3 at half time.

By now the Lurgan College coaches were using all of the squad and, despite heroic resistance at times, the hosts scored two more tries, one of which was converted, to increase their lead to 31-3. Before the end of the game a final effort by the Lurgan team saw scrum half, Scott Wilson, dive over for an excellent and well deserved try as a fine reward for never giving up against a superior side.

The boys then watched other teams play in the tournament before taking their leave for Muizenburg beach where they enjoyed some recovery time with the local surf school!

The sightseeing and educational aspects of the tour finished with the Lurgan College tour party visiting the Springbok Museum and Newlands Stadium to see the Western Province Currie Cup game en route to the airport.

The tour party finished their trip of a lifetime on arrival back at Belfast International Airport where fond farewells saw the entire group pay a special tribute to Brian Hanna, not only for his role throughout the tour, but for his thirty seven years as Director of Physical Education and Movement Studies and Master-in-Charge of Rugby at Lurgan College.

Brian responded graciously before “walking off into the sunset!!” to begin his retirement.

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