The Fettes Rugby and Hockey tour to South Africa has been hailed a superb success, with excellent play by both squads and a fun-packed two weeks of activities and sight-seeing.
In a three-night stay in Stellenbosch, the tour started with a double training session where both squads did some important preparation for their matches. A few days into the tour the group enjoyed surfing lessons in the warm waters of the bay at Muizenberg. A drive to Chapman’s Point gave an opportunity for a group photograph with Table Mountain as an impressive backdrop. The boys travelled to False Bay RFC for a third training session, and the girls went to Wynberg HS for their first matches of the tour. The 2nd XI enjoyed a one-sided victory with the 1st XI just missing out on a win. An impromptu game of touch rugby against the locals ensued and a quick blast on the bagpipes from piper Henry R provided a fitting send-off for travelling to Fairmont HS for the second block of fixtures. The girl's 2nd XI won a tight game 3-2 and the 1st XI drew 2-2. The 2nd XV managed to come from behind to win a tough match 14-13 whilst the 1st XV won much more comfortably 37-19 with Rory B scoring a hat-trick on his 1st XV debut.
Following a drive to the Hottentot Mountain range for a thrilling day of zip wiring in the Cape Canopy, the group moved on to their next fixtures with the girls playing hockey against Pinelands School and the boys playing rugby against South African Collegiate School. The post-match presentations were a real celebration of sport.
A well-earned weekend break included a fantastic game drive at Aquila Safari, then to Paarl, via the Victor Vester Prison where Nelson Mandela famously ‘walked to freedom.’ The group watched the world-famous schoolboy rugby derby between Paarl Gimnasium and Paarl Boys High School in a packed stadium of over 20,000 spectators. The rugby was impressive, but it was the atmosphere that will live long in the memory of the group who added a bit of tartan and the customary bagpipe playing by Henry R.
The final phase of the tour started with a beach clean where the whole tour squad got involved and collected an impressive 41kg of rubbish in just over an hour. They then spent some time at the V&A Waterfront before enjoying a sunset cruise around Cape Town Bay and a well-deserved meal at a restaurant that boasted over 150 flavours of milkshake! They then travelled to their 3rd set of fixtures, where all matches were won.
The group spent a final night at their Lagoon Hotel base before moving onto the Goedgedacht Trust for a two-night spell and the final matches of the tour. The Goedgedacht Trust is a rural based charity which seeks to transform rural communities, by offering children and young adults opportunities to become self-confident and skillful members of their communities. Here the group learned new dances (the boys defeated the girls in the group dance-off!) and toured the farm listening to the work the charity does to create a sustainable path out of poverty for local farmers. The boys then planted 15 olive trees, and the girls spent time at the Riebeeksriver Valley Pre-School painting multi-coloured fences.
Mr Appleson, Director of Sport, said “This was a remarkably successful tour with everything going to plan. The sport was challenging, and all teams gained hugely from the experience. South Africa is a beautiful country, and we were lucky to experience it in glorious sunshine. Thanks to everyone who made this tour possible from the sponsors to the staff who travelled with the tour party, but special mention must go to Mr Harrison who managed the tour impeccably and ensured that everyone had the best trip possible.”