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Sub-14 Rome 6 Nations Tour 2017

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Sub-14 Rome 6 Nations Tour 2017

Read tour report and see images from the tour here.





Sub 14 Rome 6 Nations Tour 2017 - Report & Pics

Click here to view images from the tour: https://flic.kr/s/aHskWdCQzZ

If it is 6 Nations Rugby time you know the St. Julian´s sub 14 annual tour to Rome must be on the horizon. This year the tour took place over the second weekend in March and included the Italy v France match at the fabulous Stadio Olimpico.

Let me say from the outset, that the boys and coaches are very lucky to have the opportunity to undertake a Rugby tour to another country, and, on top of that, one of the most wonderful historic cities in the world. This is something we are very thankful to the Rugby Club for.

One of the hardest things of the tour is the Friday morning wake-up. It is an early flight and the chaps have to be at the airport at 5.15 am. On the whole, the boys did really well on getting there on time, apart from Mr Duarte Henriques who decided an extra 30 minutes sleep may help his rugby later on that evening. He was an early candidate for the pink pyjamas - a prize handed out to players for acts of particular foolishness or neglect. This is all part of a Rugby tour and adds to the team spirit and memories.

The flight to Rome was relatively smooth. However, on arrival at Rome airport, we met our bus driver who wanted to take us to another hotel from that on the tour schedule. When you are on these tours as a coach you are completely reliant on the club chairman giving you clear information. This was not immediately forthcoming and what followed was a period of uncertainty as to the precise location of our Rome lodgings. On top of this we also discovered that the chairman’s son had taken one of the coach’s hoodies by a mistake. This he blamed on his father. There was only one solution. After a very short court case Lucas Mount was nominated as the winner of the first Pink Pyjamas for ´Sins of the father´.

Once we located our hotel we went off for a quick pizza lunch. The locals were kind enough to sing happy birthday and to provide some cake to our first birthday boy of the tour, Afonso Portugal. After this it was on the road to Frascati, as there was the small matter of some rugby to be played. On arrival in Frascati we were met by the usual horde of Italian giants. They had about 40 boys ready to play against us and none of them were shrinking violets. We decided to play the game in two halves with two different teams.

The boys started off in typical St. Julian´s fashion … fast asleep! We were two tries down in the first five minutes. However, watching this game I got the sense that this beginning was not reflective of the capabilities of our team. So it turned out. We got ourselves back into the game and were six tries to four down at the midway point. After some inspirational substitutions from the coaching staff, we managed to dominate the second half and ran out eighteen tries to seven winners. Duarte Henriques’ extra sleep did indeed come in handy, as he ran in four tries out on the wing in the second half. This would usually be great, however Duarte is a prop, and should not be anywhere near the wing. Well done to all the boys though, they really did pull through after a slow start and made us proud.

We then had a pasta supper in the club with the Frascati boys. We had some speeches, exchanges of gifts and then settled in to watch the first half of the Wales v Ireland game. The pink pyjamas was handed over to another Lucas, this time Lucas Hultén for losing his tour hoodie, claiming someone had stolen it, although it turned out to have been on the bus all along. Once back at the hotel everyone crashed under the effects of a 20 hour day.

Saturday dawned, the lads were refreshed, we had another birthday boy in the shape of Afonso Almeida Ribero and we had further places to conquer. Over the next five hours the boys took in the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Vatican and many more Roman sites. All this culminated in reaching the Stadio Olimpico for the Italy v France 6 Nations game. We arrived at the stadium a little later than we wanted after some dodgy navigational skills by yours truly. Nevertheless we had a wonderful experience there and we watched a rampant French side steamroller the Italians especially in the second half.

After the game we located our bus that was supposed to take us to the Nag’s Head pub to watch on the TV the big clash between England and Scotland. We did this to try and save some time as the walk from the stadium to the centre is quite taxing. With Rome traffic and a bus driver who dropped us miles from the pub, we might just as well have walked. Once I saw the score on the TV on arrival, I wish I’d stayed at Stadio Olimpico. Let´s just say that for a proud Scotsman it was not pleasant. We had a nice meal there however and the boys enjoyed watching the professionals showing their Rugby prowess. Hopefully some got inspired.

Later that night we took a leisurely walk around Rome and gave the boys some free time. During the course of the day the pink pyjamas had changed hands numerous times. It went from Lucas Hultén to Tristan Torres to Alexander Fortes for reasons we will not get into here. Somehow the pyjamas escaped Bernardo Dinis and Vicente Neves after they were nominated every single time, but were each acquitted in the tour courts … who knows how? The boys were being quite wise by now though, and they were many nominees scurrying for Jens de Pooter as their defence lawyer, as he always seemed to get people off at will with his clear and believable defence. There is a future lawyer In the making here. I wish I had appointed him, as my lawyer later that night, as I was nominated along with the other coaches when we reached the hotel. The charge was completely made up, and clutching at thin air would have been an understatement, but it was very clear that one of the coaches had to wear it, and after the head coach Mr Craig Monaghan threw me under the bus the fate fell on me. After a quick birthday cake celebration with Afonso number 2 it was bed-time, and another amazing day on tour in Rome came to an end.

Sunday arrived and the day’s mission was to visit the Coliseum. After wearing the pink pyjamas for breakfast they were handed over to Vicente Neves. He could not escape the whole weekend, it was a bridge too far for the poor chap. By this time Jens was charging exorbitant fees for his skills and Vicente could not afford him. We had a wonderful time at the Coliseum and we even had a guided tour to learn all about the history of this great place. We had one last lunch in town at our favourite tour hotspot ´The Trevi Fountain´. There was a final opportunity for a wearer of the pink pyjamas - Sean Henniker-Heaton. It was well deserved, but I have to say Lars Kusse was very lucky this time. It went down to a tie break vote, as it was an overall tie, and Sean lost out. After lunch we took a walk back to our hotel and our bus collected us about 4.00pm to take us to the airport and homeward to Lisbon.

It is difficult to explain to those who are not on these tours, what they mean. Rugby is a unique sport that gives opportunities to people that other sports do not. There is brotherhood, teamwork and passion. Not just that, but it teaches you about the life skills that as a youngster you need to develop. These tours are integral in this journey. The boys will never forget this experience. They have conducted themselves in an outstanding manner and forged a bond forever.

Lorne King

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