The Lower Grammar Rugby Tour
Italy, Easter 2011
The U14 Rugby team embarked on the now annual rugby tour of Italy this Easter after a very successful season. A new adventure for both staff and pupils, we stayed at the family villa of the Rous Eyres in northern Italy. Hew Rous Eyre, a recent OS, also accompanied the tour as our local guide in the Dolomite Mountains. We began the trip with a magnificent drive from Stonyhurst through France, Germany, Austria, and the Alps before arriving at our destination, Roncegno, after two days. A full fixture list ahead - 4 games in 4 days - we settled in early on the first day.
The beautiful setting of our villa was clear over the next few days as we enjoyed breakfast and lunch on the veranda looking over the magnificent mountain scenery.
Our first match was against Trento, a relatively young club at 5 years old in comparison to Stonyhurst’s rugby which started in the early 20th century! The tour’s opening try was scored by Whalley after a tough first half, with Stonyhurst emerging victorious. Our second game, and our hardest, was against a rather large and physical Bassono Rugby Club. Maduka scored some fantastic individual tries to achieve a second tour victory. Some great performances from Kuenen, Cruz and Metcalf saw victories also against Montebelluna and Oderzo.
The success on the pitch was more than matched by the success of our self-catering accommodation: this was a fantastic experience for the boys and they all got fully involved in cleaning and cooking. (The elite sandwich team was a well-oiled machine by the end of the week!) A huge thank you has to go to Hew Rous Eyre and his family for giving us the opportunity to use such a wonderful villa.
As always we were astounded by the hospitality and welcome we received at each of the clubs. As Mr Thomas stated in his post-match speeches, it is this warmth and welcome we receive each time that is the reason we tour Italy. The spirit of rugby is alive and well in this wonderful country and is improving each time we visit.
Thanks go to Jason Lakeland for driving us there and back safely, the Rous Eyre family and to Mr Thomas for coaching and organising the tour. Thanks, too, to the parents for their support for this wonderful experience, and to the boys themselves for being outstanding ambassadors of Stonyhurst College and Stonyhurst Rugby.
Mr S McGinnis