5 September 2018
The Oratory School Rugby Club brought in the new season with an overseas tour to South Africa’s Western Cape. In what was a tough but rewarding experience, this season’s 1st XV squad combined charitable work, cultural visits and rugby.
The tour began with a visit to the top of Table Mountain to see the breathtaking views across the city before visiting Langa Township the following day. In many ways it was the highlight of the trip. The group were shown around the township in the morning and were made to feel very welcome by the locals.
At one stage, over 30 young kids had joined our guided tour in order to meet the boys. In the afternoon, having eaten at the famous Shiela’s Cafe, we played Langa U18s. It was a comfortable win and a nice way to start the season but, in many ways, was insignificant in comparison to the rather humbling experience we had shared earlier in the day.
The next couple of days were spent out of the city at the Garden Route Game Lodge. This was a great trip as the group were able to get up close to Africa’s ‘Big 5’ alongside many other safari animals. From here, we travelled to Porterville High School in the Western Cape’s farming region. The boys were hosted out and given a first hand insight into life in rural South Africa. The fixture was a highly competitive contest which saw us go down from a try in the final play of the game. However, the post match ‘braai’ laid on my our hosts soon helped us to get over our disappointment.
The final leg of the trip saw us make our way back towards the city with visits to Stellenbosch and Somerset West to play our final fixture against Schoonspruit SS U19s. It was a learning experience for the boys to play against a strong older side. However, we gave a good account ourselves and were perhaps unlucky to lose by 40 points to 28.
Alongside the fixture, we visited the Anna Foundation. The foundation focuses at helping underprivileged children aged up to 18 living in South Africa’s stunning ‘Apple Valley’. The boys were fantastic as they helped the kids develop their rugby skills as well as their English and Maths.
Once the rugby was completed, we returned to Cape Town, via Boulders Beach to see the penguins, visited the Springbok Experience- a museum dedicated to South Africa’s national rugby side and went to Newlands Stadium to see Western Province take on the Cheethas. Disappointingly, we were unable to visit Robben Island due to severe storm warnings.
It was still a fantastic trip that I’m sure all of the boys took a lot away from.
I would like to thank them all for the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the tour and Mr, Watson, Mrs Watson and Mr. Jordan for their support and work throughout.
See more photos in our Facebook page: Facebook.com/TheOratorySchool
Master in Charge of Rugby