Today was another early start where we would head to Ellis Park Stadium, home of the Lions for a tour. Luckily we did not hit Jo’Berg traffic and arrived the stadium in good time.
The tour started in the museum full of rugby memorabilia, a number of the boys took photos with a Sonny Bill-Williams shirt recently worn in a match against the British and Irish Lions but not Ed S who decided to sit on a sofa playing a game of pool on his phone…what an enriching experience! The tour moved into the press boxes where we got our first glimpse inside the stadium. Next was the dressing rooms and recovery pool, Kian G was keen to go in but realised he had not brought his armbands. Finally, we were at the top of the tunnel and made our way out pitch side. Michael W-S showed withdrawal symptoms from rugby as he continued walking into the middle of the pitch!
Mr Meehan (Head of Rugby) saw an opportunity to stamp his authority down on his predecessor Mr Jones by attempting to tackle him down to the ground. Unfortunately the predator soon became prey as he found himself on the floor with Mr Jones staring over him. The stadium tour finished with a quick stop in the club shop.
It was now time for the boys to focus as we arrived at Eldoraigne ready to play. The Under 16’s kicks us off and battled through a tough opposing side losing out 42-5. The Under 16’s made some fantastic plays including the try by Charles Bonetti. Ravens Wood’s man of the match went to Harry Catchesides who showed a huge amount of grit and determination. The Under 17B’s were up next but the South African side shadowed our squad and coming away with a comfortable 50-0 win. Ravens Wood’s man of the match went to Max Luscombe who provided stability at the breakdown. Lastly, the U17A’s were up hoping to avenge the defeats. Eldoraigne’s 1st team with six 18 year olds put the nail in the coffin, defeating us 50-0. Ravens Wood’s man of the match went to Scott Macaulay for his strong and consistent performance. It was a great learning curve for the teams to see the standard of rugby at a well-established and affluent South African school.
The boys went home to get ready for the post-match hospitality at a nearby golf club. While Eldoraigne may have won the battle on the pitch, Ravens Wood certainly won the war post-match with the boys all wearing their ‘Number 1’s’ attire and in traditional 3L style, were gentlemen of Ravens Wood. Upon investigation, the school has a corporate membership with the golf club and their headteacher encourages staff to play on Monday afternoons. I’m sure the PE department will put this forward at a Professional Development day to Ms Spence for consideration. The captains awarded their man of the matches, handing out tour ties to the recipients. Lastly, the coaches spoke and exchanged gifts along with speeches. Mr Meehan sub-consciously decided to give his best impression of a South African accent during his speech.