Day 8 – The Battle of Britain and off to Woodlands

After staying at the YHA NATIONAL FOREST HOSTEL, the boys and teachers packed their bags, had a quick bite to eat and left our accommodation. The boys were excited as they received the news that we would be taking each other on in a few games of Laser Tag. The boys geared up and got ready to destroy each other. The first game was free for all and the boys desperation to come first was noticable as everyone was sweating like a pig after running around in the battle zone. The winner of the first game was…… Myself. I was 300 points in front of Snowy Dorrell who has a broken leg. Well done Snowy!! After an intriguing first game the boys geared up for the second game as we split up into teams. After another match of laser tag, the boys waited outside to find out which team had won. The winner was Red. Actually we smashed blue by 2,000 points. Our very own Tom “the Destroyer” Lever joined in for the third match. It was teams once again and Mr Lever was relieved that I was joining the red team. The first five minutes I guarded Mr Lever with my life. It soon became apparent that he was holding his own, so I left him to fend for himself and went hunting the Blues. Once again the red team smashed the blue team. The fourth and the final game Mr Muir and Mr Manion joined in and Mr Lever jumped out. Everyone targeted the teachers in a free for all game. The overall winner was George Kosmos who got 3000 points. After this we thanked the people at laser quest and headed off for a bite to eat at the shopping mall in Coventry.

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After spending roughly an hour in the shopping centre, looking at many stores and places to buy things. We walked backed to our bus and we were now on our way to meet our second billets, who were again kind enough to open their homes to us. We all went off to do a variety of activities with our billets and with many boys still eager to make new friends we can see that this game against Woodland Academy will be a good challenge.

By Perry May & Jordan Mouscas

Day 7 – Summer Day in Villa Park

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Today, Sunday was quite a relaxed but fun day. First we woke up to James Roach trying to muzz (a sketchy dance). We then had a breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and black coffee (for Oscar Lynch) or as he called it ‘rocket fuel that could get you to Mars’. We then left at 9:15am to go to the home ground of the English Premier League team Aston Villa. We watched the Wallabies thrash Uruguay 64-3. We soaked in the amazing atmosphere of the roaring crowd.

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We then left for a 30 minute drive back to the hostel. The afternoon was made up of intense snooker games between Oscar and anyone who challenged his abilities as pool king, and a game of ‘touch’ rugby which ended up as a full on tackle match between forwards and backs. The backs obviously smashed the forwards. We than had a lie down before dinner. It was quiet as we were all mentally preparing or ‘geeing up’ for the the laser skirmish battle the next day. This blog was completely written by Tom Marchese as Oscar lynch had an energy crash after his 3 coffee a day diet.

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By Tom Marchese & Oscar Lynch

Day 6 – Long goodbyes and onto Oblivian

This morning was the last morning we would share with our Welsh billets after an amazing 3 days getting to know them. We all met up at the school and said our final goodbyes for a 9am bus ride to the Alton Towers theme park.

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The boys were then given a massive 5 hours to explore the park filled with rides, fast food and beverages. There were some great rides including the Oblivion which featured going extremely fast down a vertical slope. It took some coaxing but we finally got Perry and Finn to go on it and they loved it. Another great ride was the Sonic Spin ride, in this ride the passengers go through a blurry experience of speed and changing directions at rapid pace. The whole cage spins the whole time. We all had a great day and the whole bus ride to our new accommodation out near Derby was spent laughing at some of the wild faces that were pulled during all the rides.

Once we got to the YHA National Forest we were assigned to our rooms. Everyone is getting to spend lots of time with different people and we are all getting along really well together. After dinner we all gathered around the telly to watch the England V Wales game with Mr Lever obviously going for England and everyone else cheering madly for Wales. The boys then set up camp for a good nights rest.

By Max Lowry & Sione Lemoto

Day 5 – Scaling Everest & hunting Portugese chicken

After a great night with our billets, getting spoilt rotten, we all met at the school to get the bus out to the Bedlinog climbing centre for some rock climbing and archery.
When we got there we split into odd and even numbers and one group went to archery and the other group did rock climbing. Some of the best rock climbers were Sione, Seb, Finn and Cameron. Overall it was great fun and it was a great experience.IMG_4386 copy

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IMG_4396 copyWe made it back to school just in time to meet up with our billets and catch the buses home with them. We all had big plans for our last night together in Wales and about 40 of us  met at Nandos in town for a great night of fun. Everyone agreed it was going to be really hard to say goodbye to all the awesome new friends we had made.

By Riley Holmes & George Kosmas

Day 4 – Ospreys and Rhydywaun clash

Today the team had the privilege of participating in and observing an Ospreys professional senior training session.

We arrived by coach and were sent to change into our training gear in one of the rooms. We then assembled on one of the astroturf pitches to observe the Ospreys’ forwards do line-out practice. After 5 minutes, we then met Tom, our coach, and then we began the session.

We warmed up and stretched for the first five minutes, but then we launched straight into the drills. The first drill was very much like our very own pullback one: we had to pass before a line and not under or overtime our runs. It taught us to have our hands ready, and keep he ball away from the body so that we can achieve a quick succession of passes. The next drill held the same concept, but added more game realism, as it consisted of a halfback and a backline. The main focus for this drill was reloading the backline as quickly as possible, and to stay organised while doing so. The last drill put the team in a 5 on 3 situation. The 5 attackers had to try and get past the 3 defenders, who were in set positions marked by cones. This drill taught us to play smart, and to play what we see in front of us.

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We then had a quick tour of all the facilities located inside and out the back of the club’s gym. Inside they had areas for a range of different sports, from an indoor athletics track, to a weights room and a badminton/basketball court. We also went out to the back, where there was a massive indoors astroturf area the size of 2 football fields. Outside, they had 3 grass fields, a warmup quadrant and an astroturf field.

We then watched the Ospreys’ first grade backline train while eating lunch in the sun.

Overall it was a very enjoyable and insightful session, as we learnt many key plays and ideas in rugby, as well as reinforcing what we already know.

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That afternoon we played rugby against the school Rhydywaun, we won 29-5. George scored the first try in the corner by running around the other side of the ruck after a dropped ball. Perry kicked for goal but missed. The game went on and Rhydywaun were the next to score  making it 5-5. It stayed that way until halftime.

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After halftime Tom Ball came on and scored straight away which Cameron converted. The game went on then Jordan scored but we did not convert. Tom ball scored again and Cameron converted making it 24-5. The game had 1 minute to go and Tom scored in the corner making it a hat trick, after the game there was a presentation where both schools presenting gifts to each other and enjoyed some time together after a tough game.

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By Aidan Fisher and Ross Greenwood

Day 3 – Rugby school & some Volavola magic

This morning everyone was awake by 6 am due to a racket caused by the notorious Room 8. At this point, everyone wanted to see what was going on. So by 6:30, a room which was meant for six people, was filled with half the team.
As this was our last day in the YHA Stratford, we had to pack our bags before breakfast and be on our way to Rugby School by 8:30.
We boarded the bus and we were on the way to The Town of Rugby, where the best sport in the world was invented. After about half an hour, we were in the depths of the history of our game. We were split into two groups and were given a tour of the humongous chapel and the exact spot where William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in a game of football and started running with it towards the opposition’s goal.

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We were then given an opportunity to get some lunch before we got back on the coach on the way to the wonderful Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. We braced ourselves for 2 and a half hour bus ride to watch the Wallabies take on one of our own old boys, Ben Volavola, and his very dangerous team of Fijians.
Once we got to the stadium, we got off the coach and headed for our seats praying that we wouldn’t lose anyone. We were seated in a perfect position to see the Wallabies grab a well deserved 28-13 win over the very big and skilful Fijians.
Once we found our way out of the stadium and headed for our coach, a few of our boys decided to go on an unguided tour of Cardiff. Luckily we found them and they were issued with a court appearance. We made it safely to the bus and headed to Rhydywaun to meet our billets.
Once we arrived at the school, we were greeted by the boys and the families who very kindly offered to let us stay in their homes for three nights. The boys met their billets and parted off in different directions.

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by Lucas Dorrell & James Douglas

Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun Provide Tough Challenge for Newington Boys

The boys after watching Australia defeat Fiji headed to Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun for a 3 night billeting, this was a very thoughtful gesture by the Welsh school as the boys arrived late after the RWC game. The following day the boys played against a Welsh schoolboy team for the first time. In a tough first half where the Newington team led 7-5. The second half saw the Welsh team put some of its younger boys on the field, Newington were able to cross for a  few more tries to secure victory.

Today the boys are headed to the Rock Summit Activity Centre for some fun, Saturday they head to Alton Towers, and on Sunday they will see Australia play their second pool match against Uruguay.

Detailed report of the game will be posted shortly.

Day 2 – The home of Shakespeare and Princethorpe College

Today was our first full day in England, as well as the date of our first match of the tour against Princethorpe College. It was a typical English day, being cloudy and fairly wet, however the sun did begin to come out as the day progressed. Our match wasn’t until the afternoon, so in the morning we decided to go and explore the nearby market town of the home of Shakespeare (Stratford upon Avon).

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We all had a great time and got to see some beautiful traditional Tudor buildings and sample some local British cuisine.

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After we had all finished walking around, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for this afternoons match, which was looking like it was going to be played in very wet conditions.

The game against Princethorpe College was a great way to start our tour. Newington finally running away with a 71 – 12 victory. All of our players got plenty of playing time and a chance to blow out the cobwebs after a busy first day and a half of constant travel. This was very early in Princethorpe’s season and we definitely had the advantage in terms of fitness and organisation.

We had the majority of ball early on but with the tricky playing conditions we made a number of basic handling errors. As we found our feet our confidence improved and we were able to start moving the ball around and play some expansive rugby. There were some really good performances across the board with James Roach, Sione Lemoto, Harry Clarke and captain Seb Danks all getting doubles. Superboot Perry May was also on song kicking 7 from 11.

Jordan Mouscas and James Douglas were powerful standouts in the forwards. Whilst Cameron Brown’s solid defence and George Kosmas’s distribution and organisation set the platform for a big win.

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Harry Clarke & Sebastien Danks

Day 1 – The trip to the promised land

On Sunday night we arrived at Sydney airport. We waited for what felt like an hour in a massive queue until everyone had checked in their bags. The time had come to say goodbye to our families, some were nervous but most were relieved and excited to go on the trip that we had looking forward to for months.

After a 14 hour flight with very little sleep we arrived at a really crowded Abu Dhabi airport where we had time for a quick feed and then back on board for the last leg of 8 hours to Heathrow.

At Heathrow we headed to the long line for customs. After taking 2 hours to work our way to the front, Perry May declared he had lost his passport. Everyone gave him a hard time but we felt really sorry for him as he was sweating bullets. Luckily the passport was found on the plane and we could head on to collect our baggage. All the boys had tied green ribbon to their suitcases for easy identification, except for James Roach. Queue another hour spent hunting down his missing unidentified case.

After finally reaching our hostel in picturesque Stratford upon Avon we headed out to grab a few supplies before grabbing an early night.

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by Darcy Bouwman and Cameron Brown