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Wakehurst again heading to Allianz Stadium with Wakehurst minis and junior players, coaches, managers and parents as part of the Waratahs Juniors March Past. This was a great club and team bonding session and fun night out! The club organised a coach from the clubhouse for most people and we met the others at the ground.
The club was well represented in the walk around stadium and then everyone got to their seats to watch the Waratahs in action against the Sunwolves. To add to the excitement of the march past one of our parents won a Waratahs members prize and has his sons ran on the field with the waratahs players just before the game Harry (7) with Bernard Foley and Hamish (5) with Damien Fitzpatrick.
The game was a fantastic record breaking result for the Waratahs, they have now booked a spot in the Super Rugby finals and put themselves within one win of a guaranteed home semi-final after beating the Sunwolves 77-25.
The Tah’s were trailing by six points in the first half, but they kept their nerve and their position at the top of the Australian conference by scoring an incredible 12-tries-to-3.
THE TEAM IS READY
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO NEXT
- PACK BAGS
- PACK PASSPORTS
- PACK TICKETS
- GO-TO AIRPORT
- GET ON THE PLANE
- ARRIVE IN FIJI
- PLAY THE GAMES
- WIN THE GAMES
- COME HOME
On the 14th May the U7’s team attended the warratahs training camp at St Josephs (Jeoys) School. A great day with skills training from the Warratahs and Macquirie sports coaches folloowed up by meeting 11 of this Years Warratahs Squad.
Departure is getting closer and mums all across Wakehurst have already started packing spare undies and sun screen for their U14 boys who are about to embark on the trip of their life. This years tour is for 12 nights and 13 days during the September 2011 school holidays.
This trip is a great opportunity to for our U14 players to experience three games of Rugby against various Fijian local teams, and is an opportunity for the players and their families to experience the cultural and tourist attractions that Fiji has to offer.
Our itinerary is always packed with stuff to do:
23rd Sept – Depart Wakehurst Rugby clubhouse via coach transfer to Sydney International airport. Depart Sydney for Nadi Fiji. Arrive Nadi for coach transfer to the Crows Nest Resort
24th Sept – Training in the morning. 1st game versus Methodist Mission at Lawaqua Oval before Challenge Cup main game at Sigatoka town
25th Sept – Morning depart for church at Kina’s village. Lovo lunch. Afternoon free at the Crows Nest.
26th Sept – A day in the Sigatoka Hills visiting a local village including a
cave tour / bili bili ride / lunch in the village / dancing with the locals
27th Sept – Morning training and afternoon game versus Sigatoga District School.
28th Sept – Day at Natadola Beach- mini Olympics. Lunch at Yatule Resort
29th Sept – Early rise for bus to Cautata for lunch and afternoon game (This year Caututa is the home village of one of our U15 Club members)
30th Sept – Golf and other activities (plus lunch) at Fijian Resort.
1st Oct – Morning light training, Afternoon Main game at Sigatoka.
2nd Oct – Robinson Caruso Island cruise.
3rd Oct – Morning shopping at Sigatoka town, Evening Farewell Dinner (big night) with Players, staff and Kina family.
4th Oct – Morning recovery session for the oldies. Sigatoka shopping. Afternoon free and packing.
5th Oct – Depart Crows Nest Resort via coach transfer To Nadi International Airport. Depart Nadi for Sydney. Arrive Sydney – own arrangements for travel home
The team will be staying at the Crows Nest Resort located about 15 minutes from the town of Sigatoka and 50 minutes from the Airport. Based on our experience from previous tours, mums, siblings and other relatives are encouraged not to stay in the same resort as the players and their dads. However we are happy to provide assistance with your accommodation arrangements.
While everyone is encouraged to attend the tour games and be involved in the tour social activities, the boys generally enjoy the time to be with their Dads and their mates.
This annual Wakehurst trip has become a Club ritual event each year and many players attending these trips in their early years have gone on to Rugby stardom in their later years. Wakehurst Rugby Club is proud to be a part of this annual tour and we will continue as a Club to provide the best opportunities for our players as individuals, and as a team.
A fine and sunny day in Sydney saw the Wakehurst boys depart on the first leg of their Fiji adventure. Also dragged along on this adventure were some parents and the young coach for the boys Bladsey. While many of the boys experienced their first flight on the upper deck of a 747, they also enjoyed the company of the lovely Air Pacific air hostesses.
Arriving in Fiji minus one luggage bag, the boys and a couple of parents hopped onto a bus for an eventful ride to the Crows Nest Resort. The remaining parents on the second bus had a more sedate ride to the hotel and despite leaving 30 minutes after the first bus managed to arrive at least 60 minutes before the boys.
Driving along the road to the resort, the boys, acting against their instructions, stuck their heads out of a window. Not wishing to start a bushfire on their first day in Fiji, they asked “should there be sparks coming from the wheel of the trailer?” On hearing this question, the driver decided to stop and investigate.
Despite the tyre, or rather what remained of it, being flat on one side only, a tyre was changed. Note that it was 1 tyre, not 2 tyres as a short ride later told us would have been a more sensible approach. Maybe the fact that the bus only carried 1 spare tyre had something to do with that decision.
A short 10 minute ride after changing the first tyre, the boys stuck their heads out of the window and asked “why do we smell rubber burning?” Tyre number 2 now was flat on 1 side and another change was needed.
With no spare tyre, changing the second flat tyre was not an option. A parent, with the initials PH, suggested to the boys that a short 10 minute run was all that was required to reach the resort. With language that will not be repeated here (ageist, not swearing), another option was rapidly sought. A second bus arrived very quickly and the boys eventually made it to the resort.
Hot and tired, a quick swim was necessary prior to dinner. With numerous boys in the pool, it became an interesting exercise when diving to avoid a teammate. Daniel concentrated so much on missing his teammates that he forgot that it was also necessary to avoid the pool.
Medico Scott was rapidly into action. He was even prepared to forgo watching his beloved Manly bet the Broncos so that he could attend to Daniel. A quick repair job and Daniel showed that he wasn’t going to let a number of stitches stop him swimming (only kidding Kerrie).
Today was the first full day in Fiji for the Wakehurst touring party, their first full day in paradise and what a busy day it was?
A morning trip to Sigatoka for shopping and sightseeing was enjoyed by all. It was on this trip that the boys met Kina and his extended family. Ace and other family members showed the boys around the town and the various markets.
Medico Scott was busy again with the pool proving to be the nemesis. Two bleeding noses and a damaged toe formed today’s injury list. Medico Scott’s tissue supply was severely depleted; while some were used on the boys, the majority went consoling coach Bladsey who wonders if he will have enough fit boys to field a team. All of this in the short period between lunch and training – imagine what it will be like when they have a complete day in the pool.
The afternoon found the boys on the training paddock with some support from Ace and medico Scott. A rugby related activity and the boys fit enough to participate thoroughly enjoyed it.
Another pool related activity followed but this time there were no injuries. Maybe a pool on four legs is safer than a pool without legs. Dinner followed and then the fire walking story from Ace. An eagerly awaited NRL game finished the day; the dads were able to find out who Manly will play next week in the Grand Final
It was just another day in paradise.
Morning was spent attending a church service at the New Methodist Church in Kina’s village. An experience the boys are sure to remember.
After the service, there was time for a quick trip to the beach. Ace had the boys training hard with many beach sprints on the soft and hard sand even if they did not know it. Swimming was an essential with lagoon waters encouraging some of the dads into the surf.
After the surf, it was back to Kina’s village for lunch. A delicious village banquet of local foods was enjoyed by all.
It was lucky however that all the dads were able to enjoy their lunch. A party of 4 dads were abandoned by the group and left in mortal danger at the beach; the rest of the touring party left on their bus to return to Kina’s village for lunch. This intrepid group of 4, deserted at a remote beach far from civilisation, had to trek past the local villages (full of cannibals) and run (with a taxi leading the way) back to Kina’s village to enjoy their lunch.
A free afternoon back at the Crows Nest Resort with medico Scott finally not in demand filled the remainder of the day. This was a good outcome as it is believed that he was led astray to a local bar. It was at this bar that Mike Flynn relived his adolescence and drank wine from a flagon for the first time since his teenage years.
Dinner and the night-time activities followed. During dinner, Ace told the boys some stories of fire walkers and other Fijian traditions. Catching toads and racing them entertained the boys for the reminder of the night.
A hottish day with little wind.
The boys had an easy morning with a light run to get the legs and bodies moving. Could possibly have been more use to the dads who were very slow and quiet. Some of the boys believed that this could have been due to Dads participating in the Kava Ceremony organised for the boys the previous night. Others, however, believe that it was the Dads not following Bladsie’s strict curfew.
A light lunch and onto the team bus. A short ride into Sigatoka and the boys arrived at Lawaqwa Sports Ground. Also alighting the bus at the ground was the boys own “Cheer Squad” of local Fijians who doubled as Water Girls. I am afraid the Mikes (Gullick and Penn) will not suffice next year after seeing how the boys performed when the Water Girls were passing them the water.
The game started. An exciting game best described by Bladesie’s report. An excited but tired group of boys returned to the resort. While tired they were still capable of enjoying a night of Fijian Dancing performed by people from a local village. The boys in the front row certainly enjoyed the close view of a spear. Tom Church displayed magnificent dexterity in jumping into the third row numerous times when a spear was pointed at him; some would say thrust at him but we are not that generous here.
The successful day drew to a conclusion with the catching of some cane toads while the dads discussed the game and numerous other topics over a quiet ale or a red.
COACHS REPORT – GAME 1
Wakehurst 14’s versus Sigatoka Methodist Mission at Lawaqwa Park
Wakehurst 29 – Sigatoka 22
The first ten minutes one could feel Wakehurst had a slight advantage but that was soon dispelled and the Mission team scored the first try. We soon followed when Nick Ball doubled up from the opposite wing to score a perfect try which was converted from wide out by Tom C.
The Mission bounced back with another try which was converted. They then crossed our line again and we were chasing hard to try and keep in the game. The mission speed was finding us short out wide. Our forwards were playing well but the heat was taking its toll on the big fellows who showed real character.
On cam Jess. Try !!! – the crowd were on their feet. We were closing the gap and it was taking time for the boys to realise that we need to control the game here.
On cam the second reserve – a 12 year old Fijian – Elijah, son of Junior Kina. He certainly assisted with his strength.
We moved down field toward the end of the second half and a rolling maul gave Cameron his try.
That wasn’t the end of the Mission. They came back again and took the lead. Oh Oh, it looked like we were to miss our first game. Then along came Jess, blasting through the pack and putting his second try on the board. Tom C converted three tries and a penalty to set us one up.
Bladsie fairly happy but a bit of work to be done!
Go forward and bring on Game 2.
Paradise finally failed us and instead of our beautiful blue skies, our clear oceans, we had a day of rain. We ventured out into this terrible weather only to experience the bus ride of our lives – better than the bus ride of the first day because everybody got to experience it. Piling onto the bus at the resort, little did we know what lay in front us, We thought that we were going on a leisurely 2 hour drive into the interior for a visit into the caves; what we experienced on the way there was an experience for the boys.
We think that the bus driver must have had an argument with his wife that morning and so proceeded to take his aggression out on everybody else. On the way, we are not sure which he got closer to, the school bus in front (the boys were shaking hands with the local kids on their way to school) or the edge of the drop (a good 20 metre vertical drop). Either one, was too close by general agreement.
Onto the local village and a welcome drink with them. We were also able to see the food being prepared for lunch after our return from the caves.
A shortish walk later and we crossed the Sigatoka River on billi-billis. That was an experience for the boys. A longer shortish walk followed and we were at the cave entrance. An interesting tour followed where the cultural and geological significance of the caves to the Fijian people was explained to the touring party.
A return to the village by the same path and the boys were ready for lunch. Chicken, pork, fish, tomato chutney, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, plus numerous other dishes meant everybody was well satisfied.
The magnificent lunch time meal showed on the trip home. Many a boy and dad enjoyed watching the insides of their eyelids on the way home. Evening found everybody reinvigorated. An evening of looking at tour photos followed before an early evening. Even Bladsie found a bed in the pm.
Luke thought it was an early game – he was having the runs early in the morning and even the night before. Didn’t leave him too well for the game. This meant some serious strategising to fill the gap left by Luke.
Bladsie decided to have a light training run to fill the morning. The pool looked too inviting and past experience meant the team could be down more players than Luke.
Eventually the boys boarded their bus. A stop along the way and the team spirit lifted immediately. Ace visits the local school and three young Fijians board the bus – given a choice of school or Rugby, the option of Rugby won out plus a touring shirt to the headmaster.
The game started. An exciting game best described in the Coach’s Report
The successful day drew to a conclusion with the toad races, fireworks and Mark Haskard’s birthday.
Wakehurst U14’s v Sigatoka District School
Wakehurst 31 – Sigatoka 10
Look out super coaches, the Blues are coming! Two up and one to go – giddy up –giddy up. 31 to 10 Wakehurst absolutely fabulous!! It would bring tears to a glass eye!!
The start – Sigatoka – try 10 minutess into the first half. There was an aura of oh oh! or something like that. We missed Bluey through a leaky valve or something but fortunately we acquired 3 flying Fijians as replacements.
After the first try we coordinated well and got close to the opposition line and Daniel, playing at break-away, was able to crash over the line – Tom converted. Then we received a penalty which was slotted through the posts to be up 10 – 5.
We regrouped to engineer quality ball to then see Matthew P – absolute gazelle – out back to outpsce the opposition with courage and conviction to place another 5 pointer which was converted by Tom C.
Stoic play from Reilly, gutsy defence from Brandon and brilliant play from Duba led to Nick B skirting through the field to put another 5 points on the board. Much of the lead up was done by the book ends – Marcus and Jacob who displayed courage and conviction throughout the match in stinking humid conditions. Marcus was seen to drink a litre of water after the game without taking the top off the bottle.
Cody Abrahams was giving his share in defence that kept us going forward, and tight Rugby is paramount in Fiji.
The last try was a Jess gem. 60 metres solo with his brother , Nick, matching him all the way, screaming for a pass. No way, Nick had already scored; this was Jess’ turn! 5 points.
Final bell – go forward – notable performances – Huck Flynn, Cam Lowe, Jacob, and the flying Fijians!! Plus Mark Haskard who’s early morning massage set the scene for his 50th birthday celebration.
Mums – your boys are heros.
A day at the beach.
Who can forget the excitement of the Olympics when they were held in Sydney?
Well the boys and the dads participated in their own Olympics – an Olympics organised and run Fiji style by Kina and his family.The physical activities were enjoyed by all including those who were battling their over-active stomachs. A number of dads were suffering from stomachs attempting their best gymnastic leaps and tumbles. Mark Haskard and Phil Hurditch were the two main sufferers – and their suffering had nothing to do with Mark’s big 5 0 celebration.
All competitions involved “nuts” with “nuts” being thrown, passed, and anything else that can be done with nuts. And before anyone gets the wrong idea, the “nuts” were coconuts and not those that an unnamed boy demonstrated to his teammates at his dash round the pool.
Four teams competed in these Olympics
- Team Fiji – a team that went for the home vote;
- Team Bula – a team who were slow to grab the home vote;
- Team Kiwi – Churchie and other NZ outcasts; and
- Team Pedo – not sure if they were Team Pedersen or Team Paedophile but suitably named anyway.
In between swimming, lunch, and other activities, a number of events were held with the winner being a tie. All teams should have finished equal – however, some claimed that the true order was Blue, Red, Yellow and Green. Your intrepid journalist can’t match colour with team name – so a degree of uncertainty must exist about the final outcome.
And so back onto the bus to return to the resort. But in true Olympic style, Michael Flynn could not resist setting one final record – he was asleep before the bus made the first corner (about 100metres) and then showed fantastic muscular neck strength by not head butting the seat in front despite the number of attempts. Two magnificent efforts and two excellent records set in the one event.
Dinner at the resort followed by an early night.
Day 8 and the intrepid touring party have been in Fiji for a full week, surviving successfully 2 games, abandonment of some dads and a trailer that light up the night sky.
For the first time, there are no photos today – the photographer and his assistant took the day off to relax. The report, also, is short as the Journalist has decided to follow tradition and has had too many drinks to write a long-winded report.
Today was a shopping day for the boys – a light day after many long and tiring days; definitely needed as only half the team were sufficiently fit to participate. Fiji belly is rife in the touring party with Angus, Marcus, Keiren, Tom C, and Travis all feeling the effects together with a number of the dads.
On the return from the shopping trip, Tom and Kerry Nugent were collected from their romantic trip to a Fijian island – Tom to rejoin the touring party and Kerrie to join the wags on tour.
Night time was spent with dancing and music.
Day 9 and the Final Game Day had arrived.
An easy morning training run was followed by a pool session and no injuries in the pool this time. Any injuries and Bladsie would have cried – too many boys with stomach ailments. Changes in food, exhaustion, all contributing to their problems.
Angus and Travis were unable to start the game with all the other boys doing their best under difficult conditions.
The game started. An exciting game best described by Bladsie’s report.
A second game followed Wakehurst’s game with the majority of the touring party staying to watch the U16 game. Some, who shall remain unnamed (I will not name Mike Flynn as ring-leader), chose to return not the resort that the boys were staying at but rather the up-market resort that some the wags (the dad’s wags that is) were staying at. What they were visiting that resort for is best left unstated – some claim it was for a warm shower but we all know better.
Dinner and a quiet night followed.
Wakehurst U14’s v Fiji U14
15 – 24
Wakehurst last game, Scott Collins’ birthday, which is better?
This time it turned out to be Scott’s birthday. We were “cracked” by a better team 24 – 15.They planted the first 5 pointer after 7 minutes. One felt that we were a little intimidated by, not necessarily a better or bigger team but rather, a more aggressive and determined team. In a word “they played better football”, and as normal, chanced their hand.
No excuses, but quite a few of our boys are in pretty poor condition with exhaust pipe problems! Thankfully we were able to draw on Fijian friends who assisted greatly. They were a few injuries that added to our plight.
Jess Ball helped with a “gutsey” try but he too fell to injury. Changes done, we continued as were bombarded time and time again. Stoic defence held the scores at a claimable distance. Squeaky went down for an eight count – off the field and a Fijian replacement; Cody smashed – off the field but absolute courage saw him rejoin and with determination!!
Jacob had his best game.
Reilly, Reilly, reilly – can’t say it enough! Absolute cracker – even went to hooker and tops again. His intensity, passion, and drive saw things never before seen from Reilly.
Other certainly put in the effort but it just did not breach the gap. Jess again showed soccer could be his second game.
We can mention them all but running out of ink and need a “bitter”.
Not all lost, we won the Sigatola Athletics District Relay.
No excuse for the lost.
Day 10 and a relaxing day at Robinson Crusoe Island. Grand Final Day also – Manly v New Zealand. Who could ask for more?
The order of the day was snorkelling, donuts, kayaking, and numerous other beach activities.
Massages were the order of the day for the dads and for Churchie although the Masseur commented that all she massaged with Churchie were his bones.
Angus Penn won the award for the best donut off although there was strong competition from Keiren, Churchie, and Marcus.
Blaxland (aka Phil Hurditch), Lawson (aka James Ball) and Wentworth (aka Brandon Snowsill) went exploring and did a Matthew Flinders in circumnavigating the island. They also could not find Robert Louis Stevenson.
Back to the Crows Nest Resort in time to see the game on the big screen, courtesy of Michael Gullick. There was time also for the wags to decorate the room in Manly colours.
A Manly win – how good is that!!
And a fantastic finish to another wonderful in the Paradise of Fiji
The U14 team have had a good start to their fundraising efforts for this year’s Fiji tour having commenced before the 2013 season had ended.
The U14 team will be travelling to Fiji in September-October 2014 and playing a number of games whilst participating in a culture exchange.
The boys have been busy cooking many a sausage at Bunnings BBQ’s at Belrose and Balgowlah and are working up to their big event on 24 May being the trivia night.
The wait was finally over, after twelve months of fundraising, and the boys were excited to be boarding their flight to Fiji. As they were picked up at 3AM from the clubhouse some chose not to go to sleep the night before and were soon found to be cuddled up and resting on one another’s shoulders snoring on the flight over! The afternoon was spent settling into their accommodation at the Crows Nest, enjoying a swim and cracking a few coconuts!
A leisurely start to the day saw the boys rise later than usual and enjoy a big breakfast before heading into Sigatoka – the town of rugby – for a spot of shopping. The popular past-time for the morning was having their hair braided and buying some fashionable items to wear whilst on tour. They’re all having fun and are a great team of boys to be away with.
Day Three was spent on Robinson Crusoe Island where the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves. From climbing and jumping off giant inflatable water obstacles to trying their hand at fishing with Woody where Angus ‘Phil’ Silvester caught the biggest trevally we’ve seen only to be taken by an even bigger shark!! Harrison ‘Houdini’ Caruso came third in the crab race and Tom ‘Shrek’ Campbell showed us how to crack open a cocconut. Coach Denny was getting the dance moves going, feeling very loose after disappearing for a well-deserved massage.
First game of rugby today and all boys came off unscathed. With a gentle breeze blowing, it wasn’t too hot for the boys out on the field or the spectators.
Prior to the game the team visited Sigatoka District School which was the most humbling experience had by us all where the school children sang to us with a sound that blew our breaths away; it was incredible. We all had goose bumps and I think a few eyes were welling up with the sweet sound that lifted the school roof – the children were all so excited to meet the team.
Down at the school oval it was Wakehurst challenging Sigatoka District School which resulted in a fabulous game of rugby enjoyed by everyone; no-one cared about the score and cheers went up from both sides every time someone scored regardless who it was but the biggest cheer from our team was when Tom Jacobson went over the line to score a try. Brett would be so proud of not only Tom but how the entire team played today and how they have been representing the club whilst on tour.
Jamie, Tom and Hayden got in there and played hard and our U14s are very pleased to have the older – and stronger – boys in the team when they saw the size of some of the opposition.
A minute’s silence, and prayer by Kina, in respect of Brett was had prior to the game. The ref was one of Kina’s sons who also played first grade for the Canberra Raiders; the touch judge had a long stick with a bit of ribbon and if you have to know the score it was 33-31. We lost by a conversion.
The afternoon was such an experience with the entire school watching the game, singing to us at the end of the match which we reciprocated with a mediocre version of Waltzing Mathilda and every single child from the school shaking our boys hands; it was an incredibly moving moment for which none of the boys will forget.
The team spent the evening drinking Kava (yes, all the boys!), having toad races, crab races and a lot of laughs. They’re all having a fabulous time!
What began as a well organised day resulted in our bus having mechanical problems before we even left, which in hindsight was probably just as well because it was the brakes that failed and considering the steep hills we travelled down today we’re pleased we found out before we left!
Team and supporters travelled up into the hills of Sigatoka to view the caves and the fun part of the journey was having to travel, Fiji style, in the back of a truck with the boys hanging off the back. Not a seat belt in sight!
We travelled through the salad bowl of Fiji where the majority of their produce comes from – vegetables, bananas, papaya, tobacco, etc. Boys didn’t really take this in at all!
Another visit to a school in the local village in the hills where, once again, we witnessed the most magnificent singing and enjoyed a BBQ feast cooked by Kina’s extended family at the school. We were trying to encourage the local boys to eat up big so that we could slow them down for the game of touch we suddenly discovered the boys were playing.
The boys thought, ‘no worries, it’s a friendly run in the park with bare feet’; but not to be as the local village and the entire school community arrived from down in the hills on foot, in trucks and in buses to come and watch a bunch of Aussies playing touch with their local side. Our boys were wearing board shorts, their tour shirts and heaven knows what on their feet (too many rocks and stones to go bare feet) whilst the opposition came out in their jerseys and footy boots – we were gone before we started!! It was to be ‘Aus tag’ where the boys wore coloured strips of Hawaiian style material from their shorts but after half time and many tries scored against us we discovered our boys ‘ties’ were way too long and the opposition knew how to clip their material in without being pulled out. Some of the local girls who were the Wakehurst cheer squad changed into shorts at half time and came and joined our boys’ side; we ended up having so many reserves and many tries later the game started evening up until Hayden went to do a touch down only to be stopped by a cow! Andy is seen shirtless as he took the shirt off his back to give to a very keen local boy who wanted to play with our side.
X-Box is not in the boys vocabulary as they haven’t missed it at all!
A day full of experiences and memories that photos and words cannot do the day justice as it was another one of those days that you had to be there to believe it!
A slower pace for the touring side today with the team spending the day at Natadola Beach – one of the top ten beaches in the world – for some snorkeling, swimming, massages and beach mini Olympics led by Kina.
Curfew tonight was set at 9pm for all boys in preparation for their big game tomorrow.
After a good night’s sleep the boys were raring to go and win a game of rugby! The game was at Lawaqa Oval in Sigatoka town at a very impressive ground with a grandstand that could hold thousands. Our team of supporters from the Crows Nest Resort were there to support us along with Kina, his family and extended church family; we were all ready winning with the number of supporters in favour of us.
The heat was intense, so it was lucky that we brought an esky filled with ice and water. Frank and Ben Caruso did an excellent job as water boys and runners.
Soco (Kina’s son) was the referee and we had a couple of locals filling in as reserves – Bill and Knox with Bill scoring a try.
Anthony Denny was the first try scorer, followed by Hayden Gullick with a runaway try, then Oliver Williams pushing over the line from a penalty whilst Patrick Hore got very close only to be held up. The entire team performed well and played like a well-oiled machine despite the humidity.
The Crows Nest cook and staff were there to feed our boys Indian/Fijian delights and provide them with cool drinks, after the game, which was extremely welcome. We’d love to bring them back to Australia as part of the team entourage!
The team walked into Sigatoka town for what we thought was more food but they came back with more braids in their hair and a couple boys were very proud of their henna tattoos!
They all now own and wear their unofficial team Fiji Bitter singlets that when asked why, they couldn’t really answer with anything other than ‘it’s part of the brotherhood!’.
The afternoon was spent watching the local side, Nadroga, playing the challengers from Suva – Tailevu. Poor Tailevu had a long bus ride home after about a 45-nil thrashing so it was exciting for us as supporters of Nadroga!
The ground announcer welcomed the Wakehurst team a couple of times and then called down some volunteers at half time and wow I’ve never seen the boys run so fast from the top of the grandstand than Anthony, Jordan, Jamie, Patrick Hore, Tom Jacobson and Angus Fewtrell! The boys had to see who could blow up the balloon the fastest, then jump on it and pop it to the roar and laughter of the crowd. The boys were good sports.
We were all pretty hot, dusty, thirsty and tired by the time we made it back to the Crows Nest where a lot of us jumped straight in the pool.
A bonfire on the beach was a nice way to end the day, but of course boys being boys a couple them were looking for anything to put in the fire and so it was to be roasted coconut!
Sunday morning and it was off to church; regardless if you’re religious or not it was the most amazing venue on the beachfront with lots of singing, dancing and wise words delivered from Kina which made the boys sit up and take note. The boys played in the water and along the sand with all the village children and Kina’s grandchildren, it was such a happy scene with much laughing and children doing what they do all around the world, communicating through actions and taking advantage of their environment, making their own fun, splashing and finding crabs in the sand, it was a wonderful scene. This showed our boys that the simple things in life give so much pleasure where electronic games were not mentioned or to be seen.
Kina’s family and village cooked the most magnificent lovo with pork, chicken, vegetables and really were quite the hosts; we certainly haven’t starved on this trip.
No-one wanted to leave this peace of paradise and our wonderful hosts; there were a lot of eyes welling up with just the thought of possibly not seeing these people again as they really have touched everyone’s hearts.
Ace (Kina’s brother) came on the bus ride home sitting in the middle of the very back seat leading the sing-a-long and making up a Wakehurst Rugby song as we travelled along. It was a very entertaining trip back to the Crows Nest.
The afternoon was spent swimming in the pool and believe it or not saw a few boys have an afternoon sleep!
Today was a day of pleasure where a few went on a fishing tour – only a ‘few’ due to the early departure time of 4:30AM! – with the remainder of the touring party deciding to go on the jet boat ride.
Those who went on the fishing trip were picked up by a driver who had flashing green lights around his windows and a boom box belting out very loud thumping music through quiet sleeping villages oblivious to the possibility of waking anyone! There were two boats and whilst one boat had better luck than the other we all got to enjoy some coral trout and barracuda for dinner that night.
Meanwhile those who enjoyed the jet boat ride also had lots of fun, especially afterwards where Jasper (being one of the tallest) was sent into the water with a bamboo stick to measure the depth before they all started jumping, diving and back flipping off the pier into the water – all properly supervised and no-one was injured and that’s all I heard from the boys all afternoon how much fun they had jumping off the pier.
Tonight was our big farewell dinner as we thought it best to keep the last night to a relatively early one to allow for the boys to not be too tired for their 5:30 departure from the hotel in the morning.
Kina, his son Soco and Soco’s wife and their three children came as well as Soco’s nephew Bill who played a couple of games for the boys. We were entertained by traditional Fijian dancers and singers and then we all got up and had a great dance – Ross won for the best dance moves by a white person! We were all up laughing, dancing (not caring what we looked like, or at least us adults didn’t!), and having one fabulous time with our rugby family and Kina’s family whose relationship with the Wakehurst Club has been cemented with new life-long friendships formed and old life-long friendships strengthened.
Ross delivered a moving speech that said everything we are all thinking as to quote Ross, Faith, Family & Friendship has been forged all through the love of rugby and as Andy said that 20% of rugby is on the field whilst 80% is the life-long friendships formed.
Nick Ward, as Captain, spoke and thanked the organisers on behalf of the team and presented Kina with a gift.
Kina had awards for three boys watching both games as well as the touch football and announced as follows:
- Player of the Series – Max Beckerleg
- Runners Up, Player of the Series – Oliver Williams & Anthony Denny
This was chosen purely by Kina (as an ex-Fiji international player and Warringah Rats First Grade Player) presenting them with a kauri shell that I believe they will treasure greatly.
What was to be a day of rest and packing ended up being an impromptu visit to the Fijian Resort where a morning of water sports was enjoyed by all – banana boat rides, viper rides and snorkelling.
The afternoon was spent packing, resting, a bit more shopping and then a wonderful last night with all from the Crows Nest Resort.
Another successful Wakehurst Rugby tour with a fine group of boys representing the club who demonstrated exemplary behaviour throughout the entire tour.
Vinaka Fiji, we had a wonderful time! Up early in the morning for our return flight back to Australia.
The Dee Why Lions will be hosting their Gala Day on Sunday 26th March at James Morgan Reserve in Cromer.
The day involves all mini age groups (U6s to U9s) taking part in a series of short games against other local clubs. For those who have not taken part previously, it is great way for the kids to start the season and put into practice a few things they have learnt over the first few weeks of training.
Proposed schedule for the day is as follows:
- U6s games from 8am to 9am
- U7s games from 9:15am to 10:30am
- U8s games from 10:45am to 12:00pm
- U9s games from 12:15 to 1:30pm
Please check with your team manager for more details.