South Africa Rugby Tour - Summer 2017 (Part 2)

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Head to Flickr to see all of the Rugby Tour photos.

On Saturday the team traveled to Langa for their township match. The U17 team eagerly warmed up in preparation for their impending match. The game got underway and Fettes showed a strong, skillful performance through the first half, tackling well and working together to use the space on the outside. The team chatted at half time and were so far pleased with their performance. Silly mistakes in the second half and a drop in concentration allowed Langa to break through and score a few tries. The team did well to hold on and finished off with another try to secure a well fought win. The final score was 22-14, with tries coming from Archie G, Finlay M, Michael M and Alec G (also a conversion).

Post match, the team headed to Sheila’s Café for a spot of lunch where they were treated to a feast of food and serenaded with African music as they ate. The team enjoyed joining in with the singing and trying the different instruments the band played.

After lunch the boys were taken on a walking tour of Langa and saw firsthand, the local living conditions. The team were great with the young children who followed the tour around, offering them piggy backs, shoulder rides and even playing some games with them on the street.

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From Langa, the team travelled to Newlands Stadium for the Currie Cup match between DHL Western Province and Vodacom Blue Bulls. The team had seats right at the front of the stand at the half way line, and were lucky to have such a good spot to watch the match. The game was definitely one of two halves, with Western Province performing dominantly in the first half, putting over 30 points on the board. The Blue Bulls came back after half time and really pulled the game back, with the score resulting in 46-34 to Western Province. The team were big supporters of Huw Jones through out the match, singing a beautiful rendition of Flower of Scotland when he was substituted at 70 minutes. This put the boys in good stead, as he came over at the end of the match and shook a few of the boys' hands and posed for selfies!

Sunday saw the team travel to Elgin to participate in the Cape Canopy Tour. There were a lot of apprehensive faces, as the boys realized just how high up they would be zip-lining. The bumpy 30 minute truck journey up into the mountain is one the boys won’t forget quickly, many probably still bearing the bruises of being bounced around in their seats. The zip lining course involved 11 different slides, 13 platforms and a suspension bridge with heights of up to 250 metres. The longest zip lining slide took 30 seconds and covered over 300 metres!

From the Cape Canopy Tour the team transferred to Paarl, where the boys met up with their second set of hosts.

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The boys were dropped back to school early on Monday morning and were bustling with stories about how their evening was the night before. The team headed to Newlands again, but this time it was for their stadium tour. The boys got the chance to see the home and away changing rooms, the old and new President's Suite and also the view from pitch side and tunnel.

That afternoon saw the boys take on Paarl Boys' High, whose 1st team has been unbeaten for 3 years, with the school sitting as the number 1 rugby team in South Africa Schools. It was decided that three 25 minute thirds would be played, to allow all of the team to get one more run out before the end of the tour.

The team that played the first third fought hard to keep the score low. They created a number of opportunities in attack and worked hard to defend Paarl’s fast breaks. Hamish M was eventually successful, scoring a try to make the first third score 19-7 to Paarl. The team who went on for the 2nd third faced a very tough challenge, with the Paarl team staying virtually unchanged. The boys stuck in, but the Paarl boys were very fierce in their attack and proved tough to slow down, with tries coming thick and fast. The score at the end of the second third was 70-7.

For the final third, Paarl mixed up their team a little more and so did we. The team worked well to move the ball up the pitch but unfortunately couldn’t finish with the ball, resulting in turn overs. The final score was 92-7, which on the face of it sounds like an absolutely beating. What the boys took from the match was the experience of playing against such a high-standard team and the training that Paarl put in to get where they are. The team also learned about areas of their game which still need to be tightened up before the start of the season. A very tough match but an experience that the boys will never forget.

Post match, the boys enjoyed a team tea with their hosts, exchanged kit and sang a beautiful rendition of Flower of Scotland to Paarl, with Harry C accompanying on the bag pipes. That evening, the boys headed home with their hosts for their final night.

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The team were picked up early on Tuesday morning from Paarl and travelled to the Garden Route Game Lodge for a couple of days of Safari. Throughout their time in the game park, the team had the chance to go on four game drives to spot the ‘Big 5’.

We were very fortunate to see such a variety of animals coming face-to-face with elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos, buffalo to name just a few. The team also had the chance to visit the reptile centre where there was the opportunity to hold a corn snake and a python. The boys thoroughly enjoyed this experience and relished in the attention they received from holding the snake.

The tour went superbly and the boys must be commended for their impeccable behavior throughout, whether that be on the playing field, at their hosts, in the hotel or out on excursions. They definitely made the tour a great experience for all and should be extremely proud of themselves. Both sets of hosts received emails from parents praising the boys manners and willingness to help around the house, something which we hope the boys will continue with on their return to school. Well done boys, you have been fantastic on and off the field!

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