Treorchy Comprehensive School

The Treorchy 1st XV travelled to South Africa on 14th – 23 July.

Having landed at Oliver Tambo Airport in Johannesburg early Thursday morning we transferred to the High Performance Centre, Pretoria. We checked into the same rooms that the Argentina football team used during the World Cup, and enjoyed two days use of the elite performance training facilities.

The first game was played against Raiders Youth, just outside Jo’Burg. The game was a fast contest with the opposition demonstrating their intent to run from the start. Our set piece dominance kept us on top in the battle of the two sets of forwards.
The altitude took hold during the second half and we struggled to contain their pace out wide and conceded two quick late scores. We managed to cross again in the last minutes finishing 33-22 to the home side.
We moved on to Roodeport High School, Jo’Burg, for the next few days. The boys met with their hosts at the school and enjoyed two nights hospitality with them.
Our second game against Roodeport was a ferocious battle and the all of the players picked their game up a ‘notch’ and refused to be rolled over again. Our forwards battled hard and remained superior throughout. Our midfield defense was also impenetrable as the home side was constantly driven back in the tackle. At 17-19 to us we stood firm right until the final whistle and held on to win. This was a tremendous result against a very strong side from a school with a huge rugby tradition.
Early the next morning we said farewell to our new friends and headed 3 hours North to Entabeni Safari Park. We spent two days there enjoying the long game drives witnessing South Africa’s ‘Big Five’ in their natural habitat. The game reserve spans 85 square miles and we camped in lodges in the middle of it, open to all of the surrounding wildlife. Being escorted back to bed at night with an armed ranger was something new to us all!
After our outback adventures, we headed back South to Krugersdorp High School for our final game. We spent two nights with them and again enjoyed some very generous hospitality.
The last game was billed as our ‘series decider’. With us leveling our South African series 1-1 we went into our final game hungry for success. This outing proved to be the toughest battle of them all. Two very committed sides demonstrated just how physical and intense you can play School rugby at the top level. An unbelievable battle from start to finish saw performances of the tour from all involved. We missed out on the decider 14-10.
We spoke throughout the tour about earning the respect of all of the people we meet. We had tour rules that covered manners, language, punctuality, behavior and standards of kit that the boys all managed themselves and ran their own fines book to keep order! But, the one place we always went back to where you really earn respect…… is on the field. During our time on the field in all three games we opened a few eyes and during that last game particularly we stood firm against a side littered with players who represent the Natal Sharks Province at Under 19 level, an achievement I know the boys are immensely proud of.
With all of the rugby behind us we headed for Sandton in Jo’Burg for our last two days via The Lesedi African Village. We went out for our last meal together and enjoyed the awards night where players were recognized for their contribution to various parts of the tour both on and off the field! The two main awards went to Chris True as Player of the Tour and Nathan Webber for Top Tourist.