And so a ground-breaking St Andrew's College Rugby Tour to the USA is played.
After a challenging start in terms of travel, the College Rugby Club finally arrived in Boston safely, on Thursday 13 April. 15 players, along with two of the coaches arrived in time to play the Fighting Quahoggs in Rhode Island. The rest of the squad was diverted to Munich and then on to Boston.
The XV that took to the field after the 15 hour flight were very happy to have had the opportunity to get the tour started and showed their class in winning the match against the Quahoggs comfortably. Afterwards the team was treated to a clam bake with the opposition and many new friends and connections were made.
After leaving Newport, the squad were given a tour of Brown University, which is in Providence, Rhode Island. The tour was taken through both the academic and sporting facilities, before heading to Westport and Staples High School where the squad was hosted by the Staples High families.
The College touring squad played two games against Staples High School on Saturday 15 April. Our hosts could not have been more hospitable and the boys thoroughly enjoyed being hosted by the opposition for the two nights. With a good crowd, including a number of OAs and SA supporters in the stands, College played some attractive rugby, winning both games convincingly. We are very appreciative of the manner in which we have been received by Staples High School and also the families in Westport.
After a couple of days based in and around New York, where the squad had an opportunity to do some sightseeing, we made our way to Rye High School on Wednesday 19 April for a match against their 1st XV. College started well and put early pressure on the local team, scoring some well-constructed tries against an opposition that certainly never backed down. Rye hit back with a try of their own after the halftime break, but College finished the game strongly, ending as 59 - 7 winners. Karabo van Heerden was the standout player for St Andrew’s College and was awarded a gift from the Rye coaches. The squad then made their way to the Belle Haven Club in Long Island, where they attended the North American Branch of the OA Club old boys function.
Again, the support, and hospitality of the OAs and locals has been second to none and we are extremely appreciative of the opportunity that has been given to the squad.
The 2023 North American Branch of the Old Andrean Club Dinner was held at the beautiful Belle Haven Club, Greenwich. It was a night full of camaraderie, friendship and celebration.
The Headmaster, Tom Hamilton; the 2023 President of the Old Andrean Club Dr William Fowlds (Armstrong 1988); Old Andreans; the 2023 Ist XV touring team, staff and coaches; several parents and friends of College were all in attendance for this very special occasion.
Our grateful thanks go to the members of the North American OA Branch who made the tour and event possible. Without their passion, enthusiasm and generous financial support, this tour would not have happened. Memories of a lifetime have been made, and the College boys were able to witness firsthand what it means to be part of the Old Andrean brotherhood. In the words of the Headmaster ‘You can take the boy out of St Andrew’s, but you can never take St Andrew’s out the man”.
For the last part of the tour, the touring squad was hosted by Gonzaga High School and played in the Gonzaga Rugby Festival. Games were only 40 minutes long (20 minute halves) and College started with two good wins against the Gonzaga White team (69 - 0) and against the stronger Vienna Rugby (26 - 5). This meant College topped their pool and were pitted against a physical Charlotte Cardinals Club side in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, unforced errors crept in, and College found themselves chasing the game. Given the shorter game time, despite finishing the game strongly, the deficit was just too big to overcome, College losing 12 - 27.
In the 3/4 playoff game, College bounced back strongly and dominated the touring Canadian side Shawnigan Lake to finish off the tour on a high note, earning the Bronze medals for the tournament. St Andrew's won 74 - 0.
The tour ended with some free time in Washington DC on Monday morning before the squad flew back to South Africa. We thank all our hosts for their wonderful hospitality after what has been a memorable couple of weeks for all concerned.
USA Rugby Tour
St Andrew's 57 - 0 Rhode Island
St Andrew's 1sts 59 - 7 Staples High
St Andrew's 2nds 62 - 0 Staples High
St Andrew's 59 - 7 Rye High School
Gonzaga Rugby Tournament:
St Andrew's 69 - 0 Gonzaga White
St Andrew's 26 - 5 Vienna Rugby
St Andrew's 12 - 27 Charlotte Cardinals Club
St Andrew's 74 - 0 Shawnigan Lake (touring Canadian side)