September 14, 2017
Fifty students and six staff enjoyed an extensive sporting tour of South America over the summer break. Rugby was the central focus, but the boys also enjoyed mountain biking, riding ziplines and even learning to tango. There was even an instructive tour of a Malbec vineyard.
Over three weeks of travel, the two rugby teams played five games each, beginning in Uruguay, where matches in Montevideo were challenging, with very physical opposition. Games against St Albans College and Los Tordos in Argentina also provided some stern tests, with some large opponents lining up to face our teams.
A flight over the Andes took the party to Chile, where they played two further games, one in Santiago against Craighouse, whose school is set against a stunning backdrop of the Andes, and then against St Johns in Concepcion, which required a six-hour bus journey to the south of the capital. The rugby part of the tour concluded with two exciting games, both decided by a last minute penalty kick.
The final destination was Rio de Janeiro, where the group visited famous landmarks like Sugarloaf Mountain, the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana beach for some well-deserved rest in glorious weather. The most memorable moment was the time spent playing beach touch rugby against some of the children from the UmRio charity, which helps educate children in the favelas using rugby as a tool to bring groups together. After raising money for this charity in the 24-hour touch rugby event last February, this was a great opportunity for the students to see the amazing work the charity does.
Pupils and staff enjoyed a fantastic three weeks, with some excellent rugby, but most importantly great memories and lessons learnt about different cultures. Many of the boys became much more independent and also empathetic people as a result of their experiences, a valuable part of their wider education.