This is the page where the bi-weekly diary from South Africa will be posted with all the latest news and events direct from the tour. To choose which page you want, first select the leg of the trip you wish to view and then the date from the links below. The diary will come straight from the squad and will contain match reports, photos and news of trips and events as they occur.
After 21 hours of travelling we have arrived at the Cabana hotel, Umhalanga Rocks, our home for the next two nights. Despite the sleep deprivation and lack of leg room on the flight we were not lacking in energy upon arrival. We had a mini rugby tournament on the beach. After the tournament we headed into the waves for some body surfing. dinner this evening is an Italian but I doubt it will be a late night......
Day 2 19/7/04
The shock of the 755 start today was apparent in everyones faces although some did not arrive until 845 to their peril! After a large fry-up we headed off to the Northwood Crusaders rugby club to do some light training, both teams' run throughs went well so we head into our matches tomorrow feeling confident. We then headed for lunch at the Ushaka marine world while the bus' speakers offending all who could hear them with the Lion King soundtrack. In the afternoon we headed out into the surf again. In the early evening some have been playing volleyball, whilst others have stayed in their rooms playing cards, one man is sitting pretty at the moment but he has prefered to stay nameless, for now we will call him Mushkov.
1stXV Vs Hillcrest W44-10 Tries: Philpot(2), Walford(2), Clark(2), Stadlen, Demetri
2ndXV Vs Hillcrest W31-10 Tries: Fowler(3), Nicholson, Pappadakis
Two big wins for he sides today in our opening fixture of the South Africa tour, however both teams still feel there are improvements to be made. We checked out of the Cabana hotel this morning with rather long faces, I think everyone was sad to leave its luxury behind! We headed off down to Hillcrest on the coach, stopping at Ushaka marine world for lunch. after the two hour coach journey we arrived at Hillcrest in good spirits but with our minds definitely focused on the game. The 2nds kicked off first and were soon two tries up thanks to tries from Tim Nicholson and George Pappadakis. This double salvo of tries rocked the hosts but they rallied round to comeback with their own try, due to a time keeping error the referee called half time after just 25 minutes. This did not affect St. Paul's however as we came out of the break strongly scoring a try in under 5 minutes thanks to James Fowler. From then on in we overpowered them with Fowler running in 2 more tries for his hat-trick, the last one courtesy of a 45 metre break by prop(!) Karl Sutaria. The 1sts started quite well but not as explosively as the 2nds and after some early pressure we crossed the line with a well worked try from Tom Clark. After trying his luck early on with a few weaving runs Hugo Walford crossed the line with an incredible 30 metre mazy run through almost everyone in their team! As in the seconds Hillcrest fought back though and scored a good forwards try after picking and going up the pitch. We took a further lead however after a piece of individual brilliance from JJ Allard: about 10 metres out he grubber kicked behind the defence and in one long salmon like dive, scooped the ball and popped it off to a willing Nick Philpot. Hugo Walford crossed for his second thanks to good phase play by the forwards and solid hands from the backs. After the break Hillcrest came back at us strongly and scored a good try after 10 minutes, this stirred us in to action and soon after we crossed the line with Tommy Stadlen when Charles Rayner took a quick tap and drew in a few defenders. Tom Clark then crossed for his second with his usual powerful running and strength. The penultimate try came through quick hands from the back line, the ball reached Dawit Demetri who handed off the defender with consumate ease to score in the corner. The last try to seal the victory came from Nick Philpot as the backs moved the ball quickly down the line, Philpot changed direction with a superb sidestep and then burnt everyone off to run in under the posts. After the match Hillcrest put on a South African braai (barbeque) which filled everyone up, however we headed in for an early night due to the big match against Hilton College tomorrow.
1stXV Vs Hilton College W17-12 Tries: Demetri, Stadlen Conv: Rayner(2) Pens: Rayner
2ndXV Vs Hilton College W15-14 Tries: Kirby, Nicholson, Pappadakis
4/4, a great start to this St Paul's tour to South Africa in 2004. Hilton is one of the biggest and oldest schools in South Africa and as we were told during a tour around the school, rugby is most definitely a religon there! However the squad were very focused on the task that faced them upon arrival and were not about to be misled by the propaganda being offered. The 2nds match was to start at 1430 and so they started warming up whilst the firsts were able to find time to relax and gather their thoughts. They ran out onto the "hallowed" turf which is the Hilton 1stXV pitch in the black strip, very fired up and ready to defend the unbeaten record. In a very hard fought game the 2nds did well to defend their line against the South Africans and when the chances arose to attack came they did and took full advantage of them, with this mentality spearing them on they went into half time leading. The second half was all about defending that lead and if possible extending it, they did this well with kirby darting over for a try from the base of a ruck as Hilton's defence became more and more stretched. Thankfully as the seconds defended their line one last time the opposition conceeded a penalty which Hugh Gillum gleefully fired out of the vicinity of the pitch. When the kick off came for the 1sts against the Hilton 2ndXV they were ready to replicate the seconds performance to make it a memorable day. However the match did not get off to a good start for us as Hilton drove over from a lineout in under 10 minutes, they missed the conversion however, along with a few penalty attempts as well. Charles Rayner then converted a penaty to make the score 5-3. We managed to take the lead when Tommy Stadlen crossed for his second try of the tour after Alasdair Glass had made a good break with Jake Lofdahl in support. The try was converted to give us a half time lead of 10-5. The 1sts defence was good in the first half and it did not falter in the second as we repulsed attack after attack from the Hilton forwards. We scored an excellent try with forwards and backs linking to superbly enabling Dawit Demetri to cross the line, the try was converted to give us a lead of 17-5. The last 15 minutes were a case of holding on for victory and despite conceeding a try late on we managed to hold them off to record a famous double over this huge rugby school.
After playing against Hilton we headed up to Intibane Game lodge for our two day safari, in the Umfolozi game park. Most of today was spent in the coach as we headed north, however en route we had a small tour of Anglo Zulu war memorials and museum. We visited FortPearson and the Ultimatum tree and then went on to the Vukani museum, with lots of Zulu artifacts. We then continued our journey to the game lodge and arrived in the dark at around 6.
On Saturday morning we spent the morning trying to watch the tri-nations match between South Africa and New Zealand, however the generator failed and we had to rely on updates by phone from England! After this failure we headed for lunch at a cultural spot 15 minutes from the lodge where we could buy authentic African gifts. After lunch there we went on our game drive in the GamePark. The Safari was superb and everyone got to see some of the big five, including elephants, lions, rhinos and leopards. After everyone had used up all of their film/ memory cards (!) we arrived back at the lodge for our supper and a good night's sleep in our dormitories of 15.
The next day we went on our way to MichaelhouseSchool which is about 60 km from Pietermaritzburg, and so another long coach ride took place, around 6 hours. When we arrived we had a 2 hour training session followed by a good roast dinner courtesy of the excellent food at Michaelhouse.
We had to wake up pretty early this morning because we had to arrive at OnvervagSchool by for the ceremony to start. The school had made a lot of effort for us and this showed as we had tours around the school and the pupils performed dances and songs. At around 11 the game of football between St. Paul's and Onvervag kicked off, the pitch most definitely did not resemble Wembley and this showed in the quality of play. The South Africans ran out 1-0 victors with a well crafted goal, to the dismay of some of the more serious footballers in our squad! In the afternoon we had a final technical training session prior to the big match tomorrow.
1st XV Vs Michaelhouse L9-6 Penalties: Nicholson(2)
2nd XV Vs Michaelhouse L12-7 Try: Pappadakis Conv: Rayner
The day of the biggest matches in our Durban leg had arrived and everyone was very focused and nervous about the games ahead. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and decided in honour of our presence to become a wet English winters day!
The seconds kicked off first and immediately were under pressure from the Stayers XV, our defence stayed strong for 20 minutes and but they finally dived over with a pick and go. We fought back immediately though as George Pappadakis crossed the line thanks to a piece of individualskill, knocking the ball out of the opponents hands and then grubber kicking it over the line to make the scores level at half time, 7-7. The amount of defending we had to do started to take its toll however as tackles started to be missed and they crossed for a second try after about 5 minutes. We then held out well until the end but only got near their try line in the dying moments, so a very close game which could have really gone either way.
The firsts were to play their leavers XV and so were up against some very big boys, however this did not concern us too much as we had the far superior first half and were unlucky to go into half time without a try and the lead, the score was 3-3. In the second half the game became slightly more equal as big hits flew in from both sides. In the end it came down to penalty kicks and with the scores level at 6-6 they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which they duly converted to the sound of the final whistle. Even though all the boys were absolutely gutted from this loss there were lots of positives to be taken from the game as we improved dramatically from the previous matches.
1st XV Vs SomersetCollege W29-3 Tries: Walford (2), Kirby, Chappatte, Fowler
2nd XV Vs SomersetCollege W7-0 Try: McLain
The match day started with a tour around the Vergenligen Vineyard where we got to taste some of the different wines they made there. After this relaxing morning we started training our minds on the games ahead. The seconds started first as usual and did not perform to their usual level and found themselves caught up in a messy game trying to grind out a win. The winning try came from Cameron McLain as he picked from the base of a ruck and went blind.
The firsts kicked off at 4 and immediately put Somerset under pressure and we got 2 tries in the first 10 minutes. Somerset did not fold however and defended bravely up to the break making us go into half time only 12-3 up. In the second half we turned up the intensity and managed to get 3 more tries with us managing to generate 5 or more phases with the forwards rucking well.
In the days between our first two matches in Cape Town we stayed in the Breakwater Lodge, which is near the waterfront. On the first day we trained at Hamiltons Rugby Club after having had lunch there we went to the waterfront to do some shopping. The following morning we went to watch Paul Roos play our final opponents in Cape Town, SACS. The match was very one-sided and so we really only saw how SACS defended! We then retutned to the hotel that afternoon for more free time. In the evening we had a dinner with the touring parents in the Sports Cafe. The next morning we checked out of the hotel and went on a quick fire sightseeing tour of the Cape Town sights, Seal Island, Cape Point to name but a few. In the afternoon we headed on to Tableview High School for training and to meet our new hosts.
1st XV Vs Tableview W15-11 Tries: Clark, Demetri. Conv: Nicholson. Pen: NIcholson
2nd XV Vs Tableview W10-8 Try: McClain. Conv: Kirby. Pen: Kirby
Although prior to the tour we had expected this game to be one of the easier in the line up, when we arrived at the school we realised that this game was going to be extremely tough, because the school was very focused on beating some Poms!
The seconds kicked off first with a crowd of around 659! We started well with most of the possesion being St. Paul's however we were unable to turn our posessional advantage into points, and they took their early chance of a penalty to give themselves a 3-0 lead. After more pressure from St. Paul's and good ball retention we crossed the line with a seven man overlap thanks to Cameron McClain's brute strength, with Sam Kirby converting. At half-time the score was 7-3. Consistent pressure from Tableview lead to a well worked try midway through the second half, but a spirited comeback from St. Paul's forced a close range penalty from the opposition, which Kirby slotted with poise.
The firsts kicked off at 4:30 with even more support than the 2nds and tried to take advantage of this situation by applying some good pressure however we lacked the killer instinct and so when we conceeded a penalty inside our own half they took the lead. We reatliated soon afterwards though with a penalty from Tim Nicholson. However poor discipline on our behalf lead to them taking a 6-3 lead. We were the first to score a try though when Tom Clark scored off a pre-planned penalty move. This meant we headed into half time 8-6 in the lead. In the second half we had to defend well but due to a superb lineout move by Tableview they scored in the corner and so luckily were unable to convert. With our backs against the wall in the last 15 minutes searching for a try which finally came off a well worked move by the whole side with Harry Dannebaum taking the ball up well and then Charles Rayner throwing out a huge miss pass to Tom Clark who worked a 3 on 2 brilliantly with Nick Philpot and Dawit Demetri who crossed the line. Tim Nicholson then cooly slotted the conversion from way out to give us an important 4 point lead, this meant they had to score a try.... Our defence held out valiantly in the last 5 though and the elation was very evident at the end of the match. Now we go on to play SACS in 2 days time.
Today we headed from Tableview High School back into central Cape Town to meet our new billets from SACS. Before we entered into the lottery which is billeting we did some light training at Hamiltons Rugby Club. Then after making sure everything was ready for tomorrow we got on the coach and were taken to Kamps Bay to relax. After this we continued on to SACS the oldest school in South Africa, celebrating its 175th Anniversary!
1st XV Vs SACS D10-10 Try: Demetri Conv: Nicholson Pen: Nicholson
2nd XV Vs SACS D10-10 Try: Pappadakis Conv: Rayner Pen: Rayner
No it's not a typo, both teams drew with SACS 10-10. The 2nds were very keen prior to the match to maintain the excellent record that St. Paul's has made for itself in South Africa, 4/5 wins is a record not many english schools attain out here! The match could not have started any better, when George Pappadakis fly hacked the ball down the line from about 30m out after a high kick into the corner. The match then entered into a batte of attrition as each side attempted to deal with the adverse conditions. SACS then scored a penalty and so it was important that we got another score before the break as we were playing with the wind in the first half. We got a penalty about 3 minutes from half time thanks to excellent ball retention, forcing SACS to concede. However just after that a loss of concentration in defence allowed them to score a try. At half time the score was 10-10. In the second half it was all about strong defence from St. Paul's and clearing our lines well when we had the oppurtunity, we did this superbly and so managed to hold on for a memorable draw.
The 1sts kicked off in semi darkness due to the rain clouds overhead and the weather conditions really affected the quality of running rugby, however both teams still managed to make this a great exhibition of rugby. The match did not start well though for St. Paul's as SACS crossed to score after 5 minutes. We fought back valiantly though and managed to score a penalty through Tim Nicholson before half time. SACS took a 7 point lead however when they drove over from a lineout. After the break St. Paul's took hold of the game and mangaed to score an excellent try by Dawit Demetri. The very same man saved the match for St. Paul's minutes later with a huge try saving tackle. So like the seconds the firsts managed to finish their match 10-10. A brilliant way to end the rugby playing of the tour with two excellent performances.
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