Second Tour Match v Kavanagh College (Dunedin)

Friday morning saw the first sunshine creep through the clouds for the touring party. Excitement raced through the camp as they got ready for what should be a much warmer and dryer game then experienced two days ago. Students boarded the bus for a slow trip up the hills of Dunedin towards Kavanagh College. As we arrived students were taken into the schools auditorium for a traditional Maori welcome, there were discussions of reciprocating with a snappy number from Pirates of Penzance, but this was thought better of. The tourists were treated to a number of songs including a beautiful rendition of ‘hallelujah’ in their native tongue.

After the formalities, both schools headed even higher up the hill, to what would have to be one of the most picturesque school sporting grounds in the Southern Hemisphere. With all teams playing on the one ground, it was the first time that we were all able to watch each game on tour. Excitement reigned as the first of the Rugby games took to the field…but we will pick that up a little later.

The footballers were handed a lesson in wet weather football in the first game against St Thomas. Captain Ottavio was keen to put this behind them to get into the winners circle against our next physical opponent. After a strong, clinical warm up, the boys were out ready for action. The match started with some great exchanges of passing from the usual suspects of Makovec, Jakes, Ottavio and Mostofi. Aidan Principe and Kieran Casey were very solid at the back, along with young Tom Baird. There were chances aplenty in the first half, with Mostofi coming ever so close with a powerful strike which was rebounded into the path of Sam Sullivan who was extremely unlucky not to score with the follow up. If not for the incredible goal keeping, Newington would have been 1-0 up after 10 minutes.

A chance presented itself not long after as Sullivan found himself in space again after a Mostofi cross with Sam finding the woodwork with a reflex strike. The post was hit soon after as the black and white piled on the pressure with no reward. Unfortunately the Kavanagh team were quick to break free, and with speed across the park, made Newington pay with two clinical strikes leading into half time for a 2-0 score line. After the break the hits kept coming for black and white clan. A Jakes’ header hit the woodwork once more, before some luck of a different kind, as a Mostofi cross/shot found the back of the net for the first goal on tour, 1-2. More chances were created throughout the second half, and when Jakes found the back of the net to make it 2-3, a tight and tense finish was on its way. Unfortunately the Newington boys could not capitalise and instead were overrun by another very clinical opposition, with the final score 2-5 to the side from Dunedin. A superb game by all involved and some great positives to take into the final game on tour.

The Rugby White’s ran out with determination and all were looking for improvement on the game in Christchurch. Within one minute, and a strong tight head scrum win, it was apparent that this was a different team to the one that played 48 hours earlier. The boys were able to string a number of phases together and supported each other at the breakdown to secure possession. Some tackles still were missed and strong running opposition capitalised on these and ran in some tries. The team found the halftime break scoreless but had found a renewed energy and enthusiasm. The second half saw some awesome phases of play, highlighted by the quick tempo set by Rhys Miller at halfback. Zac Zoud looked dangerous in attack as did Mikey Hassen in providing some inspiring go forward. David Doust, Will Gray and Max Gallant toiled hard in close, and Jarrah Ronan guided the team around confidently. The more positive play and team work soon lead to two tries being scored by Rhys Miller and Garth Bickford. These tries were a just reward for the way that the boys improved and the attitude that they took into the game. While ultimately the score went against them they held a great account of themselves and their school.

The Rugby Black team actually commenced the day’s play, but we decided to keep the report for last. After a brief warmup, the team were determined to continue the positive performance from the previous match. Tom Hirst provided a stirring pre game captains call to arms and the boys ran out for their encounter. An early try to Kavanagh against the run of play did not deter the Newington team, who soon hit back with a try to the tours leading try scorer Toby Philips. A few minutes later, the prolific Phillips crossed once more and it was the Newington team with all the momentum. However, immediately before halftime, the Kiwi side displayed their class and determination with a well made try to go in at 12 a piece. This was not going to be easy!

During the break, Mr Wilson reminded the boys that the impressive first half had provided the team with a special opportunity. The outcome sort after was to be the first Newington Prep school rugby team to win a game in New Zealand. This outrageously ambitious goal was only considered due to the obvious level of intent shown by our boys, which was matched by their execution.

On the return to the field, the forwards continued to create a superb platform for the backs to play with expanse. The commitment in every run, clean out and tackle was unwavering. This helped secure a 3rd try to Angus Ole,  giving the Australian visitors a 17-12 lead. Inspired by the forward pack, our backs did not put a foot wrong. The quicker team members looked to apply pressure by moving the ball at every opportunity. Will Rumi, Flynn Gannon and Ridley De Lange challenged their opponents like never before with intelligent and skilful play. But it was the work of Thomas Oates that has his teammates as well as spectators in awe of his strength. Although smaller than most, Tom’s heart and resilience in defence was something to behold. Easily saving 3 tries with amazing tackles in cover defence, some on the opposite side of the field, kept Newington in front by 5. Tom continuously brought down bigger, faster and stronger opponents with copybook tackles in what would result in a man of the match performance.

With Newington gripping on till the bitter end, one final thrust from the forwards enabled the team to cross for a 4th try to Tom Hirst, sealing the landmark victory. With celebrations and cheers fitting of such a proud performance, the boys thanked and congratulated their Kavanagh rivals and gathered for a school song. Staff found it hard to control their emotions after witnessing such a gutsy and well deserved victory. The boys are clearly realising their potential and ability on tour, especially when they apply their efforts united.

After the matches, our host school invited us back to their college for a post match presentation. Here the boys enjoyed food and drinks with their counterparts and some polite conversation. And here, Toby Phillips’ efforts were embellished as well as only another try scoring front row forward can. Can’t wait for the last match!

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Off to Dunedin via Ashburton, Timaru and Oamaru

The bus was set for a scheduled 9.00am departure for Dunedin. After another hearty breakfast, the group was required to be seated on the bus with bags loaded and their motel rooms cleaner than when we arrived. If this directive was not met, the boys would be marched off the bus to amend their performance before we left. Parents will be pleased to learn that the effort from the boys was first rate, with little extra work required to achieve the high standards set. Another positive for the Newington tourists was the glowing reports received from the motel staff who remarked on the boys manners and effort before we were on our way.

So with a spring in our step, we set off for a 4.5 hour bus ride from Christchurch to Dunedin. The trip was to be broken up with 2 stops along the way to stretch the legs, eat some lunch and enjoy some activity. The first pit stop was a short break in Ashburton for a stretch and a stroll in a gloriously maintained park. The boys enjoyed the surroundings along with the fresh air, but it was clear that the walk alone was not going to be an adequate energy release before we set off once more.

With some quick thinking and initiative, staff suggested a chin up challenge to discover the tours chin up champ. The boys embraced the activity with most boys attempting to accumulate as many chin ups as possible. Sam Eagleton impressed, as did Angus Ole who actually assisted others with more chin ups than he achieved himself. But it was Thomas Oates who punched out 6 fine chin ups impressing the vocal, but supportive crowd. Staff members then attempted to match the Oates mark with mixed success. But with reputations still relatively intact, it was back on the bus for our next leg.

Timaru was our second stop for lunch and some exercise at an enormous open space. The boys were given a level of independence to choose their own lunch to enjoy. With some dubious decisions made, the boys ate like kings before we endulged in a varied array of sports. The Classic Catches activity was hotly contested, with an outrageous number of difficult catches taken, belying the static nature of the bus trip to this point. Touch rugby, cricket and playground antics continued before it was back on the bus for our final leg.

The activity had the desired outcome, with a more subdued finish to the trip. Some red eyed opportunists cleverly took the opportunity to doze away some time. Before long we were at our destination, the Scottish influenced Dunedin, where we would take on Kavanagh College tomorrow. After sorting our rooms it was off to dinner before walking home for some well earned rest. Happy birthday to Christopher Mina! What better way to spend the special day with 47 mates on an overseas sports tour!

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Slight Change of Plans

After our 1st matches, many of our tour group were suffering from a mild case of hyperthermia. And with the unfavourable weather unlikely to abate, and a truckload of filthy washing to have done by the morning, it was decided that we would be best to stay warm and rest, instead of attending the ITM Cup rugby match.

This proved to be a wise decision, with the boys enjoying the chance to thaw and catch up on a bit of rest. Whilst the players reclined, the staff learned just how much time is required to wash 48 pairs of muddy shorts, 48 playing jerseys, 96 muddy socks, headgear, shoulder pads, underpants and skins, dry them, sort them and return them to their owners. However, the help of some extra responsible junior tourists was employed to relieve some stress. Stefano Ottavio, Liam Spiropoulos and Joe Reilly Makovec lent the biggest hand, as well as providing some light entertainment with their insightful reflection on the tour thus far.

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First Tour Match v St Thomas of Canterbury (Christchurch)


With all of the excitement of the Antarctic experience still coursing through the young tourists veins, they arrived at St Thomas of Canterbury and two observations were immediately made:
1) The grass on the playing field was luscious and plentiful
2) The rain that had threatened all day was now starting to come down sideways

The players were escorted to a pavilion where a light lunch of fruit and muesli bars were used to settle some pregame nerves. As the Rugby clan set out in the misty weather for the warm up, the footballers set off on the coach for the newly developed Christchurch Football Arena. As the bus meandered along a developing dirt road, a mirage appeared….the most glorious synthetic football field we have had the pleasure of seeing, and a well drilled and cohesive opposition to compete against.

With the rain teeming down and the temperature not exceeding 8 degrees, we started our football journey. Ottavio, Mostofi, Makovec and Jakes controlled the ball early, setting up many attacking raids. Chris Mina and Aidan Principe were given many opportunities for attacking raids with expertly placed through balls, but were unable to convert the chances due to an exceptional backline from St Thomas. St Thomas on the other hand were ruthless, finishing with aplomb, putting two in the back of the net before the half was out. Newington were very unlucky not to have a few themselves, with Stefano inches away from making it 1-2 at oranges.
Once play resumed (and a few tactical position changes later) the boys in black and white had greater control and resolve, beginning to get the better of their more fancied rivals. Unfortunately the goals did not flow and instead, the blue and whites wrestled back the ascendancy with a brilliant counter-attacking raid that left the Newington defence sprawling and out on their feet. With the wind and rain creating havoc for all players, it was the local team that was finishing on top, creating chance after chance, until an incredible volley from the edge of the box put the game to rest.
Some great touches from Jeremy Arfanis and Fletcher Jakes with steely resolve in goals from Aidan Principe left the players with greater hope for the games to come as the fight was still there right to the end. 0-6 was a harsh reality of the tough road ahead, but definitely did not reflect the overall balance of the game and the chances created from a talented team that will only get better from here.

The White rugby team experienced their first Haka and took to the field for their international debut (for Newington). The kick off set the scene for the first half with a larger and stronger opposition. The boys showed some resolve at the scrum, winning most of their own feeds, but were blown away at the ruck leading to difficulty in containing the opposition score. At halftime the teams were swapped which found new players being welcomed into the black and white and some of ours donning the red and blue of St Thomas. The next 30 minutes of rugby was an absolute pleasure to watch, young men from both sides of the Tasman played as one and rugby was the real winner.

The Newington Black team played on an immaculate field adjacent and in conjunction to the White team. They too embraced the challenge of the first intimidating Haka on tour, but the response from our boys was truly something to behold! On what can only be described as a bitterly cold day, the Newington soldiers put in a performance to remember for the ages.
With our forward pack totally dominating their opposition, the team went about resurrecting an early deficit on the scoreboard. Aching fingers, frost bitten toes and frigid facial extremities did nothing but spur on the Wyvern crested brigade. Leading the way with some huge runs was man of the match and captain Tom Hirst. Obviously inspired, the other forwards enjoyed winning the battle against their more fancied rivals. Angus Ole crossed the line after some impressive lead up from the pack. Uncompromising tackling from Will Stormont and bludgeoning runs from Tom Cowdroy and Hamish Danks paved the way. Sam Eagleton, Gabe Poidevin and Ethan Strawbridge worked tirelessly at the breakdown to recycle possession with efficiency. A halftime scoreline of 26-7 in favour of the hosts did not reflect the dominance from Newington, nor did it hamper the upbeat attitude from the boys. Our young men were having the time and game of their life!
Toby Phillips crossed soon after the break for a well deserved try. The game wore on with the game becoming somewhat of a stalemate, finishing in a 33 – 14 score to St Thomas. In what was a difficult day for the backs, Flynn Gannon at halfback and Will Rumi at 12 had outstanding input. It was great to see the Newington team realise their capabilities and grow in confidence throughout the match. The coach as well as the players were extremely proud of their performance.

After the final whistle the boys hit the showers and got changed for an aftermatch function with our unbelievable hosts. The boys enjoyed meeting some of their opponents over a slice of pizza, some hot pies and a glass of Raro. The respect and courtesy shown toward us was thoroughly appreciated by all. Thank you St Thomas!

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Trip to International Antarctic Centre

Wednesday morning before our first tour match, the tour party experienced the International Antarctic Centre. Parents will be happy to know that this was an element of the tour that was educational as well as fun! We were lucky to have 2 very kind tour guides who told us many fascinating facts and showed us through some of the extreme conditions and operations found in the Antarctic. Did you know, if all the ice melted in Antarctica that the sea level would rise higher than the Statue of Liberty!!!!

Some of the boys were also interested to learn that polar bears do not actually live in the Antarctic, despite fluffy polar bear dolls being sold in the souvenir shop. The lowest recorded temperature in the Antarctic was below -80 degrees and wind speed have reached 320 kph. Australia has 3 scientific bases in Antarctica whilst New Zealand has 1 (I think this was a sore point) Once year they play a game of rugby in the snow. The American base play the New Zealand base and from all reports NZ are always victorious.

During our visit we experienced a 4D Antarctic movie. This proved to be a total hit! We were bombarded with cold winds, sea spray, the feeling of riding over rogue icebergs on a barge, noisy seal colonies, snow falling from the sky as well as bird poo. The boys thoroughly enjoyed this 4D movie if the boisterous applause was any indication.

We also saw some Antarctic inhabitants swimming in front of us behind a huge glass window. We learnt a lot about their natural habits in the Antarctic as well as the Centres penguin rehabilitation and preservation programme. The penguins of Antarctica withstand the full brunt of the Antarctic’s freezing climate. Shortly after we received an opportunity to feel how cold it must be, in an Antarctic climate simulator. In this snow covered room the boys Experienced snow underfoot in -8 degree temperatures. Not long after the simulator cranked up the wind to 42 kph and the windchill factor quickly dropped to -18 degrees for a period of 2 minutes. “I’m Cold!!!!” Was the standard response. 1 hour exposed to these temperatures would make life very difficult, with the human body unable to survive. Little did we know, this proved to be the perfect lead in to our first match as similar temperatures were to be encountered.

The Haglundd is a specialised vehicle designed by the Swedish army that can endure the diverse landscape of the Antarctic. The vehicle is able to drive on a flat road surface as well as climb steep slopes, take sharp turns, traverse a 1.2 metre gap or crevasse and even drive straight through water up over the windows. The boys were all raving about this awesome ending to the tour and I am sure many unforgettable memories were formed. Off to our first match against St Thomas College of Christchurch.

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Welcome to Christchurch

Once bags were collected and jackets adorned, it was time to make our way to our bus. Ian the bus driver led the way outside into the brisk 9 degrees with misty rain falling. The boys found their seats and we made our way to the Christchurch City Motel, found our rooms and made a quick change for a short training run.

We walked a short distance to a open green expanse for some activity to get the blood pumping. With no apparent signs of any deep vein thrombosis, the boys exerted themselves playing soccer, touch rugby, frisbee and AFL against the teachers team, including Gabe Podevin who lent a hand.

A short team run ensued, then it was back to the motel to shower up and prepare for our evening meal. The boys were shown some Southern hospitality and were well fed and content when it was time to settle in for the evening. A sound night of sleep is needed to prepare for our big day tomorrow which includes a trip to the Antarctic Centre, our first matches and a game of ITM Cup rugby. Fingers crossed!

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Bon Voyage!

Goodbye and see you all in 9 days. We are almost ready to board the plane with high spirits and energy. The Sydney airport strikes had little impact with the group making it through customs without incident. However Mr Wilson lost his pair of scissors from his first aid kit!

After some loving farewells to parents, some a little dubious, but totally understandable of a 12 year old in front of his 47 mates, we are set to embark on a wonderful adventure.

See you all soon, a little older, hopefully wiser and more responsible and not too deprived of sleep.

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The Tour Party

Newington College Preparatory Schools’ is taking a group of boys on a Rugby and Soccer tour to New Zealand in 2015. The tour will commence on Tuesday 22 September and return to Sydney on Wednesday 30 September. The tour will be nine days in duration.

The touring party includes 48 students and four staff members. Staff attending will be Mark Caulfield (Tour organiser and Soccer coach), Neil Brunton (Manager) David Hazelton (Rugby coach and water boy) and Joel Wilson (Rugby coach). The boys are from Year 6 and have ages ranging from 12-13 years old.

The tour will be flying in to Christchurch and travelling south to Queenstown. There will be three fixtures against opposing New Zealand school sides. Games will be played in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Mark Caulfield- Newington Lindfield

Tour Leader– Soccer Coach

mcaulfield@newington.nsw.edu.au

+61 406 381 736

Neil Brunton- Wyvern House

Manager– Medical, pastoral and communication

nbrunton@newington.nsw.edu.au

David Hazelton- Wyvern House

Rugby Coach- Water Boy

dhazelton@newington.nsw.edu.au

Joel Wilson- Wyvern House

Rugby Coach- Tour Blogger

jwilson@newington.nsw.edu.au

 

Contacts in Australia during the tour will be:

Richard Baker

(rbaker@newington.nsw.edu.au)

0408 860 141

Benjamin Barrington-Higgs

(bbarringtonhiggs@newington.nsw.edu.au)

9416 4280

A mobile phone with international roaming capabilities will set up for the tour. The phone number of this phone and other important contact numbers will be provided to the boys on laminated card before getting on the plane in Sydney. These details will also be provided to all parents.

Year 6 Tourists

First Surname First Surname
Nilanka Abbey Fletcher Jakes
Denis Antipas Oliver Kleppich
Jeremy Arfanis Joe Reilly Makovec
Thomas Baird Rhys Miller
Garth Bickford Christopher Mina
Thomas Billingham Tom Moody
Jake Boiling Aiden Mostofi
Sam Bristow Thomas Oates
Keiran Casey Angus Ole
Thomas Cowdroy Stefano Ottavio
Hamish Danks Toby Phillips
James Davison Gabe Poidevin
Ridley De Lange Aidan Principe
David Doust Marcus Renshaw
Liam Dundon Jarrah Ronan
Sam Eagleton Will Rumi
Alex Frye Xavier Sheahan
Max Gallant Mackenzie Sheppard
Flynn Gannon Liam Spiropoulos
Will Gray Will Stormont
Ned Greenwell Ethan Strawbridge
Sebastian Hailwood Sam Sullivan
Michael Hassen Christopher Tsolakis
Thomas Hirst Zach Zoud