The First XV at Tauranga Boys’ College have an international reputation and that’s recently been enhanced following a successful UK tour in the term three holidays.
It took over a year of fundraising to meet the costs of the tour and some of the methods used were unconventional explains openside flanker Caleb Walker.
“It took about 18 months to raise the money for the tour. We held a casino night where casino equipment was hired out and the funds went to the tour budget. We also raised money through horse racing and of course sausage sizzles,” he says.
Tauranga had a tough season finishing towards the bottom of Super 8, but Walker says the trip was a “once in a lifetime experience” and more than made up for some of the early season setbacks.
The tour started in England when the team arrived at Heathrow Airport. They played their first match against Dulwich College in southeast London.
Dulwich was founded in 1619 and has a fine rugby reputation. They have produced recent English prop Andrew Sheridan and 1884 All Black Henry Braddon.
Walker admits this was the toughest game on the English leg of the tour.
“It was played in the wet and Dulwich had good size. They hassled us into mistakes, but we toughed it out.”
Tauranga wasn’t tested by Carnbrook School, trouncing the Kent based outfit 54-17.
In their final English game they accounted for Ballyclare High School 19-10.
“England was awesome,” Walker says.
“We saw lots of sites like Big Ben and it was really fast and exciting.”
Ireland was the next stop on the tour. Tauranga scored a convincing 35-5 win against the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Sir Donald Currie, shipping magnate and founder of the Currie Cup rugby union competition held in South Africa attended this school.
St Michael’s College in Dublin proved the only stumbling block of the tour. Tauranga was beaten 24-23. Walker recalls what happened.
“St. Michael’s are one of the top rugby schools in Ireland. They have a huge rivalry with Blackrock College who lots of people in Ireland told us produced Brian O’ Driscoll. The lead changed lots of times, but we conceded a try in the last minute.”
The tour concluded in Wales where the only opposition was thrashed 54-5.
The 48-strong touring party (a development team went well) watched the All Blacks beat Georgia 43-10 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
P.S. Interestingly the recent selection of Sam Cane as All Black Captain for the Rugby World Cup game against Namibia, following on from Kane Williamson’s captaincy of the Black Caps and Peter Burling, skipper of the America’s Cup crew meant Tauranga Boys’ had three old boy New Zealand captains.
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