This is what we were doing last weekend – West Coast International Festival of Rugby.
The holiday camp: it was a super weekend and the weather was very kind hence my very burnt nose, but my prior misgivings about the accomodation turned out to be wholly justified – it was truly grim. We shared with my sister-in-law and her family in what we were told was a chalet-for-eight but they forgot to tell us they meant eight pocket dolls. Yes, our luxury, minus-four star chalet consisted of three cell-like bedrooms, a sofa-bed, a shower room and a teeny-tiny kitchen area containing two saucepans and a pile of crockery that showed what the last families meal was before they fled the premises or died of consumption, whichever came first. Oh, and at every window they had the most hideous 80’s throwback curtains of which their only useful purpose seems to have been to swat all the poor dead flies that were squished into the lining. Worse than grim. For me it was just about bearable if I didn’t touch the sides . . . and it was just as well we spent most of the time outdoors.
The team players: the boys are a great bunch who have bonded really well over the seasons under the direction of their superb coach and this junior tournament has given them a great taster of international rugby. I was amazed while watching all the different age groups (under 8’s – under 12’s) playing their fixtures, amazed at just how professional and dedicated they all are. They played their hearts out – with passion, determination and courage – and with no sign of any foul play.
The results: I’m no roving sports reporter so I’m not even going to attempt to write any detailed match reports. But, in short, the under 8’s team (of which my main interest lies on account of our lad being in the under 8’s team) played brilliantly and reached the final only to be beaten by an excellent team. As runners-up, they were all presented with a grand trophy each which they were rightly pleased as punch to receive, although some of the boys said they were more nervous about going up to receive their trophies than they were when playing in the final.
The future: my son has two more tournaments before the season finishes, then he leaves the gentler, safer rules of tag rugby and it’s onto (GULP) contact. I watched some of the older boys play and it’s not for the squeamish I can tell you. Heads colliding everywhere, boot-studs unavoidably stomping on fingers, bodies piling up, studded boots flying around. Some of the boys wear padded helmets and gum-shields. Some don’t! My son says he won’t mind using a gum-shield but doesn’t think he will need the head-protection. Think again sonny!