This year, the RFU nominated Ivybridge Community College (Exeter Chiefs) to represent England and claimed a major scalp in beating South Africa (DHL Stormers) in the semi-final. Ultimately we lost out to New Zealand (Waikato Chiefs) in the final in what was our most physical match of the tournament.
|Staring down the haka|
Whilst we played in honour of those affected by the natural disasters to have hit Japan, Ivy took solace in holding NZ to the narrowest winning margin of the tournament. At 35-17 it goes without saying they were a strong and clinical side... Shame they can't win a World Cup eh?
We made the final in good health, all things considered. Lucky and relieved considering our tour preparation. One player only returned to rugby 2 weeks before leaving, following 6 months of post-operative ACL rehabilitation. Another ruptured his ACL 3 months prior and is still awaiting surgery. An incredible achievement for him to play in 5 of 6 games. Both players were still working hard on their rehab during the tournament and it obviously payed off. They contributed tries, passion, blood, sweat and tears.
|ACL tape by Matsui san|
|Unstable single leg squat w extra g.med & hams|
This was a trip of firsts. Some of our players hadn't been on a plane before, used chopsticks, been to a museum, eaten sushi, played infront of a crowd, sang the God save the queen, or signed an autograph. Perhaps for some, this opportunity truly was the trip of a lifetime. It was also the last game some of the players would play for their school, so there were a few exhausted man tears on the battlefield come the final whistle. Understandably so.
I really enjoyed working with the team during this tournament. At times the boys surpassed themselves with their spirit and decorum under pressure. It was a pleasure spending time with such admireable young men. Although I may have now got over my jet-lag, I haven't yet got over the trip.