5 November 2019

At the beginning of half term the U15 and U16 rugby teams went on a tour to Dublin, Ireland. On our first day we visited the Irish Houses of Parliament in Dublin, this was a great insight into the history and political structure of Ireland. This was followed by a brilliant Q&A with the Justice and Equality Secretary, Jim O’Callaghan. We then had a first class training session at Donnybrook stadium, where we met and talked with former England rugby head coach, and current Leinster rugby coach, Stuart Lancaster, who gave us an inspiring glimpse into Irish rugby, and we were able to ask him about what his role was like at the Rugby World Cup.

After our training session we went to go and watch Leinster vs Edinburgh which was set to be a great match as neither team had dropped a point in the weeks before this match, and the game did not disappoint with Leinster getting the win.

On Saturday both the U15 and U16 squads had a match each versus Monkstown Park School both games resulting in quite comprehensive victories for Abingdon. With victory secured we then headed to a traditional Irish pub to watch Ireland vs Samoa, we were also treated to a traditional Irish stew this was an amazing experience made even better with Ireland getting a great result.

The action continued as we moved onto the Skillzone. Inside Skillzone they have short skills in 10 different sports and we each competed against a partner in getting the best scores. We then went to Dún Laoghaire which was a great chillout along the port and coastline after an action packed day. Shortly after we had dinner and were met by former Leinster, Saracen, Ireland and 1997 British Lion prop, Paul Wallace. Paul was part of the team who won the famous test matches vs South Africa. The team he played in made the Lions as good and supported as they are now. It was inspiring to listen to him speak and ask him questions about his rugby, the changes he experienced as well as quiz him on the Rugby World Cup.

An evening followed of ten pin bowling, arcades and pool finished off what was a spectacular day on tour and one which I’m sure the tourist will remember for a very long time.

We woke on Sunday to adverse weather and we decided to stay in and watch the Wales vs Uruguay match and then to watch the very memorable game of Japan vs Scotland. It was amazing to see the home team doing so well. It was also lovely to watch the matches together as a squad.

Personally I thought the tour was amazing I had so much fun and have memories and friendship that will last much longer than the tour did, a personal highlight was the karaoke on the bus. This really encaptured the atmosphere and attitude of the tour, with everyone having fun and getting involved, A special mention to Mr Gold who to our surprise pulled out of his locker an amazing singing voice, his song choice usually being an Elton John classic!

Written by fifth year, Oscar Bunting

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