Moulton founded Newington College in 1863 and then Tupou College shortly after. He would love watching the relationship grow again between the colleges. This relationship is strengthened each year through the service learning and rugby tours that include these great Rugby games between the Tupou College under 15’s side and a touring Newington College side. The game is played in great spirit and the boys played the second game in mixed teams from both Colleges. A great evening was also had watching the full footage with both teams. Well done to both teams and Rugby was certainly the winner on the day!
Thanks to Matt Watson for his time editing photos and video for the summary video of the first rugby game.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO TO COME
The final full day at Tupou College began like every other with a 6am wake up. Lights flashed on in the dorms and most boys were preparing themselves for breakfast, but some retreated back under their sheets to regain some needed sleep after a hard night of dealing with gastro issues. The boys who had successfully negotiated the last few days without contracting any stomach illnesses, made their way down to the library to have a breakfast that was once again prepared by the lovely ladies of Tupou who have become Tongan aunties with the hospitality and care that they have shrouded the boys in over the past week. Despite some boys who attended being borderline on contracting diarrhea, all of the boys gorged themselves on the generous servings of fruit, eggs, toast, sausages and cereal, which the ladies of Tupou happily provided them with. Well nourished, the boys made their way back to the dorm closely followed by some members of the Tupou community, who were carrying plates of food to give to the boys who feeling under the weather back in the dorms. The extent to which they look after their guests is remarkable and it was very heart-warming to see these people care for these sick boys as if they were their own sons. As some boys tested their appetites with a few bites of food, the healthy boys reminisced about the afternoon fixture against Tupou College and whether Newington would be able to field a full team of 15. However before the rugby in the afternoon the boys had an interaction task with some of the Tupou boys.
On Monday an exquisite display of phenomenal human feats occurred during the under 15s rugby match between Newington College and Tupou College. We started the war with the boys running on, led by inspirational Captain America. Both teams then had the honour of singing their respective national anthems in front of the strong crowd. Tupou College started the game with a towering kick and chased it with blistering speed, setting a super pace for the game. The battle was fought on many fronts, however, one area the Newington boys were defenceless against was the brilliant scrummaging of Tupou College. After a brief stint of resolute defence, Tupou eventually broke our wall of defence and went over for the first try of the game. The conversion was missed to leave the score at 5-0.
The game continued to roll on with the excellent scrummaging of Tupou overpowering the Newington forward pack as well as some formidable hits in defence from the hosts. Newington hit back with a counter attack taking the ball almost to the Tupou line. Unfortunately, unlike our opposition, Newington was unable to crack the line. Tupou continued their dominance in the set plays and eventually cracks began to show in the Newington defence. Off the back of a ruck, a pick and drive worked the Tupou forwards in behind our defensive line and the number 8 for Tupou triumphed over the line. The conversation was made successfully to take the score to 12-0.
Close to half-time Newington found themselves attacking Tupou’s line. A smart lineout started a roll-on in our attack. Our forwards began linking together in the phase play, one beautiful offload from Tom Piroddi to Charlie Mannix found him within inches of our first try. A strong clean out at the ruck pushed Tupou off our ball and with the quick ball we threw to the backs who had a one man overlap. Sam Clarke raced for the corner but was met by scrambling cover defence, with the Tupou winger ripping the ball just shy of the line. This stoppage signalled the end of a brutal first half.
Upon resuming the game, Newington continued to rise in confidence. We began working out that when we kicked for territory Tupou were reluctant to counter attack and as a result we were finding better field position. The discipline of the Newington team began to show as they picked up several quick penalties with kicks for touch the easy option for good yards. Our defence tightened up as well, affording the hosts less room to move in attack and we started giving a few bruising hits in defence ourselves. Our newfound confidence was giving us good continuity in attack and after some good lead-up play by the entire side, Tom Piroddi crashed over for a try about 10 minutes in to the half. The score was met by rapturous cheering from our loyal and vocal supporters (see separate post on cheering). The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, 12-5 to Tupou.
As the two sides tired, attacking opportunities and line breaks were harder to come by. Newington kept pushing for an equalising try but we could not finish off our good work. Tupou were making our ball at the breakdown difficult to come by but they were unfortunately on the referee’s bad side by this point in time.
The game concluded with some near chances for both teams just missed with no additions to the score. There were some excellent try saving tackles from Josh Wheatley and Tom Banuelos to keep Tupou wanting. A hard-fought victory for our Tongan hosts, 12-5. To our boys, well done. Despite being heavily out-muscled and out-weighed we kept going back for more and were always in with a chance to win the game. Man of the match went to the Tupou College inside centre who was ever-present in both their attack and defence.
Tuesday morning brought an early start for the rugby boys, and a slight sleep in for the service learning boys. The Rugby boys had training at 7:00 for an hour, at which point in time the service learning students utilised the time to have a shower (For some boys it was only their second for the week… Typical boys stuff). Following the conclusion of the rugby training, the boys showered and wandered down to the library for a beautiful breakfast that was prepared once again by the women of Tupou College. The breakfast included the traditional eggs, baked beans, toast, bacon, and also a some home comforts such as corn flakes. It is remarkable how our time at Tupou has the ability to turn things that we take for granted in Australia, and turn them into moral boosters in day to day life.
After finishing our meal, the boys proceeded to begin their respective duties for the morning. The goal of these duties was to make the donations from Newington in the best condition possible before they were installed or presented to Tupou College. The computer-savvy students assisted Mr Kolbe with the installation and repair of Tupou’s wireless internet infrastructure, while the Rugby boys were allocated the task of cleaning the desks and unfortunately, removing the chewing gum. After the completion of the cleaning, the Rugby boys were assigned with Tupou students to show them around the school. Some of the sights that they were shown included the airport runway, the rain forest and the livestock; including the pig farm and dairy farm. After a few hours, lunch was served with the absence of a few boys who were still being shown the school.
After lunch, the boys were on the bus going to the city centre for some shopping. The first stop was “Look Sharp” T-shirt shop, which sold various jumpers, t-shirts and also Tupou College merchandise. Many of the boys indulged in some spending; buying Tupou shirts, jumpers and various Tongan brands. The second stop was at the markets in the city centre, which were filled with stalls that were swamped with handcrafted jewellery, woodcarvings, homemade clothing, and some miscellaneous items; all of which were bought by at least one Newington boy. Just after leaving the market, the boys dashed across the intersection to get some ice cream and soft drinks, before we were back on the bus back to Tupou.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of relaxing before we had dinner and were ready for our screening of Monday’s game against Tupou. The members of both teams filed into the library and were mixed amongst each other, eager to see the footage of the game. Highlights of the game were applauded and also received cheers of laughter. The boys congratulated each other personally on their efforts and shared moments of joy through the common means of watching rugby. Overall the boys left the library laughing and anticipating the rematch that is on tomorrow’s fixtures.
Morning was relatively quiet with no activities beginning before breakfast. However the main events began after the boys ate their breakfasts that were prepared by many female staff of Tupou College. The first event was the opening of the container outside the library at 9am with the whole school gathering round for a short ceremony before the gifts were distributed to the various departments at Tupou College.
The Tupou headmaster the Dr Reverend Fisiii’hoi began the ceremony with a speech; highlighting the strong connection between Newington and Tupou College and how it continues to grow with Newington’s contribution of the container full of gifts this tour. The ceremony finished with a prayer and the container was open by Phil Lemoto and the Tupou Head Prefect. The container doors flew open and provoke cheers and clapping from Tupou and Newington students alike. The donations from various sources meant that there was a vast array of clothing and equipment; from a leg press machine, to large sums of jackets from Hurlston Park Wanderers Football Club. The generosity of the Newington community was very much appreciated by the Tupou boys; who were smiling and grinning as they carried the gifts to various departments. The unloading of the container was done by Newington boys with the help of the Tupou technical class (the majority of which were First XV rugby players), which led to the speedy completion of what seemed to be a gargantuan task.
Following the unloading of the container, the touring party was split into the Rugby boys and the service learning boys, who were then directed to do their respective events. The service learning boys went into classrooms to interact with some Year 8 gifted and talent students from Tupou, whereas the Rugby boys played touch footy and card games with some of the Tupou children. This very relaxed and mellow period for the rugby boys came to conclusion as they had to prepare for the afternoon fixture against the Tupou U15A’s Rugby side.
The whole school flocked to the rugby field to watch our boys go up against a slightly intimidating Tupou side. The crowd was divided with half going for Newington and half going for Tupou; however Newington had the slight edge with the females cheering from the Newington bench. The crowd and players were on their feet while the Australian and Tongan national anthem was played and the crowd applauded the teams as Newington was lead out by Brodie Mellor and Tupou was lead out by their captain. The first half was a sheer display of brute force from the Tupou side which lead them into the break at 12-0. Newington regained some composure to allow Tom Piroddi over the line to score an unconverted try to bring the score to 12-5, which was eventually the final score. The unwavering support from the Tupou crowd for both teams was a excellent example of the strong sense of community at Tupou and Tonga itself. Battered and bruised, the boys wandered off the field to hear speeches and to watch prizes being given to the captains and the man of the match, the inside centre for Tupou College.
After the game, the boys filed back to the dorm to clean up before they went into some classrooms to talk to some Year 7’s and play a few card games with them. Their time with the Tongan students was short lived as they were summoned to the Library for dinner. The rest of the evening was very relaxed with the boys finishing their dinner and then going off to bed. The boys described the day as being fun, scary, hard, however they all said that it was worth it.
Sunday, the most important day in the week for Tupou College and this was evident when the boys awoke to see the Tupou students quietly preparing themselves for the church service. As the boys marched over to Moulton Chapel, their respect was clear due to the fact that no one was late or loud, and everyone was dressed in their best uniforms. The Newington boys wore full blazer uniform, while the Tupou boys wore special white and blue uniforms that were in pristine condition.
Moulton Chapel filled with boys, the choir and band practised, the staff filed in shortly afterwards and the chapel service began. The strong Christian aspect of Tupou College was exemplified in the chapel service with harmonious singing, emotional speeches and the constant playing of grand music from the band. Highlights of the service included performances from a Tongan gospel singer who lives in America, a scripture reading from Mr Kolbe, and the passionate gospel interpretations from the preacher. Following the conclusion of the chapel service, the boys marched back to the dorms in a fashion similar to the Tupou students for a quick refresher before our amazing lunch feast.
Lunch was incredible with an array of superb foods including suckling pig, lobster, chickens, massive fish, taro, yam, seafood dishes and some home comforts such as twisties and Cadbury chocolate. Speeches were given by various special guests, including our very own Cameron Quince, Matthew Watson and Phil Lemoto. Phil’s speech was loudly applauded due to him touching back to his Tongan heritage by performing the speech in both English and Tongan. A little secret organization from Mr Quince meant that “Happy Birthday” was sung to Declan Whyte on his 16th birthday, and was also given a blessing by the reverend. The feast continued and the boys chattered with Tupou staff and local Tongan families, until the feast came to a conclusion and the boys were dismissed back to the dorms and were given free time.
Free time is a rare occasion at Tupou, so boys were encouraged to savour the hours they had before dinner to do what they please. Some boys utilised their time by a playing a few games of touch football and doing other physical activities. Others used their time for more relaxing purposes such as playing some card games with some senior Tupou boys, and even the odd person chose to sleep until dinner. Overall people were very appreciative of the generocity of the Tupou community to allow the free time for the Newington boys to rejuvenate and prepare themselves for the day ahead when they open the container full of gifts for Tupou College.
(NOTE from Mr Kolbe. Thanks to Declan Whyte who wrote this piece and worked throughout his birthday)
Tupou’s two greatest loves, religion and rugby are treated with upmost respect and dedication. The Newington boys experienced this after a 6:30am wake up followed by a prayer, when they went on the rugby field to train for 1 hour. Dirty and sweaty, the boys showered and had a nourishing breakfast that had been prepared by the ladies of Tupou College, ready to explore the sights that Tongatapu, accompanied by some senior tupou boys.
The first sight was the exhilarating water display of the blowholes that line the coast. Local ladies sold hand crafted goods, which provided some students with their first solo try at bartering. The tupou boys teetered on the edges of the cliff which tempted the Newington boys to join however under the watchful eye of Mr Quince they were kept a safe distance (For concerned parents). Following the trip to the blowhole, a visit was paid to Newington Old Boy Steve Finau at his Tongan home. The stories shared by Steve about his time at Newington could only leave the boys with sense of admiration.
Upon the returning to Tupou, the boys prepared themselves in their blazer uniforms for the visit to the Royal Palace. The event that allowed Tupou College and the Newington touring party to gain access to the royal residence was due to the crowned-prince; a Tupou old boy, officially announcing his marriage to the King of Tonga. The presentation began with Tupou and Newington boys marching into the Royal Palace playing music until everyone was ushered into their seating positions to wait for the Prince’s arrival. Facing the Royal Palace with the King sitting opposite the boys in a majestic fashion, the Prince’s car pulled into the Palace grounds and he was greeted by applause. Upon the Prince taking his seat, the gifts to the King were blessed by the priests and then offered to the King as a sign of respect and asking for permission. After the ceremonial events took place, the Prince gratitously exited the Palace grounds and the celebrations continued for many hours more. The festivities included music from the Tupou College marching band and also a local musical act that used an interesting mix of vocals, and strings to set a sombre mood, and dancing from various members in the crowd.
The celebratorius mood continued until Mr Quince’s presence requested by the Queen of Tonga, who benevolently shouted the entire Newington touring party and a few Tupou boys dinner at a local Italian restaurant appropriately named, Little Italy. The boys mingled amongst the Tupou boys as they chowed down on pizza’s and pasta’s, which was appropriate ending to such an action packed day. The bus ride back turned into a small scale entertainment show with boys sharing their party tricks including an imitation of a dinosaur, and the Tongan boys stealing the show with their rendition of the Lion King introduction song. Overall the day was action packed, prestigious and an experience that the boys will remember for the rest of their lives.