2 November 2018

On Friday 19 October, 19 boys and four coaches left school for Norwich for what was set to be an enjoyable weekend. Recently we had been trying players in different positions… and in many cases very different positions. We were interested to see how we would fair against the other schools at the Langley tournament. Although we had a fairly large amount of key players missing it gave other people the opportunity to continue trying different positions, and allow for some team bonding.

We arrived at Norwich Holiday Inn early evening after the lengthy journey, anxious to know who our room mate or mates would be. After dinner we reconvened for a team quiz, you could say the results from each team were fairly mixed.

Saturday morning saw some tired faces, possibly due to a slight lack of sleep on the first night. Following breakfast at the hotel we headed off to Langley school for the first day of the tournament. Originally we had Dulwich, Merchiston and RGS High Wycombe in our pool, however High Wycombe pulled out last minute.

We kicked off the first half against Dulwich with great intensity and focus. However after the first few minutes we struggled to keep this up. Shortly later Oscar Bunting left the field due to a hard collision to his knee. At half time we were behind and knew we needed to go firing into the next half to get the win. Yet we still lacked our form. On top of this Hugo Lee and Cameron Wood sustained hand injuries which was not ideal. On reflection of the first game there was an issue with our defence, but more simply we just lacked the mental attitude against them.

Going into the second game against a very well drilled Merchiston Castle School, collectively as a side we lacked focus and cohesion. Merchiston scored early on in the first half largely down to missed tackles on our part. They did have size and strength over us however we should and could have put up a much better contest. Our half time talk happened in a very similar manner to our previous one. Yet still didn’t have as much impact as hoped. The second half was better but continued in a similar manner.

Looking back on Saturday it was clear and simple to see we were lacking the right mindset.

On our way back to the hotel we briefly visited Great Yarmouth, which was a unique choice from the coaches. Then it was back to the hotel for some downtime before watching some of the European Rugby on TV and later dinner.

On Sunday it was slightly later wake up which was welcomed by all, it is safe to say. We had breakfast and packed up then departed for Langley school.

Following a warm up which Noah, Nathaniel, Charlie and Tor had put together we thought we were going out onto the pitch to face Hurstpierpoint College… however not known to much of the squad there was still one more match preparation to be had. The coaches had come up with a very different idea to get us ready for the match compared to what we’re used to. The whole team went into the changing room which was full of balloons and various other party like ideas. The music was turned up and the party began! Eddie Good led this with what he called dancing.

We lined up and the game began, unfortunately Tor Hormbrey’s game was short lived when somehow he gained a broken finger between leaving the changing rooms and getting to the pitch. The game kicked off with much better intensity and a great desire to play excellent rugby. The first try fell to Hurstpierpoint College, but Abingdon countered that scoring one shortly after. At half time we highlighted the fact we needed to use our backline more, which happened in the second half however we couldn’t quite capitalise on this each time. Hurstpierpoint College managed to gain another try against us. Abingdon didn’t give up though we carried on until the end of the game.

The second game of the day kicked off with a lot of work for the forwards to do, we didn’t have as much possession as we wished yet it was a hearty performance from the boys. When we did have the ball we should have played with more width and used the space outside more, there were a lot of forwards carries being made, in particular the Langley brothers making some big collisions. Unfortunately Rex may have had one a bit too big and had to go off. We went into the second half with the aim of playing wider, which did happen on some occasions yet we could have done this more. Dan Burger had a great game making some good ground and also putting in a great effort in defence making multiple cover tackles.

After a delicious lunch provided by Langley School, as we had on the first day, we headed back to school in the minibus.

Overall on reflection we learnt more about how to prepare ourselves properly for games in the future and it was good to have a weekend away as a team to further ‘gel’ together. We all look forward to the Cup match versus RGS High Wycombe the first week back as well as big block fixtures versus Eton and Radley in the next couple of weeks.

Group 1

Abingdon School 7-34 Dulwich College, South London
Abingdon School 0-47 Merchiston Castle School, Scotland

Bowl final

Hurstpierpoint College, Sussex 10-5 Abingdon School
St Peter’s RC High School, Gloucester 21-10 Abingdon School

Written by Captain Cameron Wood

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