Rugby Tour 2017
Monday July 10th
So 2 years in the making and we walked out of the leaving Mass finally ready to depart on what we hope will be the trip of a life time. The staff and boys are eternally grateful for all the support that the school, campion community & parents have given to get us to this point.
A seamless journey to Heathrow allowed for a bit of dinner before boarding he flight to Dubai. Qantas managed to board us early and we settled into the 6 hour flight to the UAE.
Tuesday 11th July
What was billed as a 'lost' day in the tour planner managed to provide us with our first hurdle when a lost passport meant an unscripted delay in Dubai for Mr Pearn & one unnamed tourist. As I write they are in the air catching us up.
Emirates provided a bearable 10 hour flight and our tour operator met us at the arrivals lounge at 2am Perth time. A short 30 min drive to Sorrento beach was followed by the potential of 6 hours sleep before a 9am meet for our first beach session of the trip.
Wednesday 12th July
Sorrento beach at 9am provided a beautiful yet blustery start where Mr Mcdarby took the opportunity to run the flight out of the boys legs. Our hotel did the job, with decent rooms & a buffet style breakfast.
A couple of hours leisure time allowed for use of the pool before we boarded the coach for the short journey to North Beach Rugby League club who allowed us the use of their training facilities. It would be fair to say the 90 min session got better as it went on! Some tired young men took a while to get up to speed with their skills but by the end things looked ship shape.
We were all pleased to welcome Mr Pearn & Callum Forster back to the group in time for a squad meal in the evening.
Perth has been a pleasant start with the boys behaving impeccably - we look forward to tomorrow and our first fixtures.
Thursday 13th July
We woke up in Sorrento and checked out ahead of our first experience of billeting. The coach driver took us to the beautiful Kings Park in central Perth. We stretched the legs and dodged the rain showers whilst taking in some decent views.
Lunch was spent in the city centre before we travelled to the picturesque Nedlands Rugby Club ahead of our first game. The boys will never play in such a idillic setting and the games lived up to all expectations, 2nd XV scoring in the last minute to win 12-10. The 1st XV came next and produced an outstanding performance to win 32-14. See match reports for more details.
2nd XV vs Wesley College
A beautiful pitch and setting on the banks of the Swan river played host to our first game on tour.
The 2nd XV took the opportunity to open the tour and immediately took the initiative with a line break from Chris Jacob almost resulting in the first try.
A period of heavy pressure from Wesley meant the campion defence was tested for over 10 minutes before Billy Fletcher broke and bundled over to score the first points of tour.
Wesley were a well organised and direct team who scored twice to make the score 12- 5 at half time.
A strong start to the second half saw captain Liam O'Brien score and It was then that spirit of touring kicked in.
Campion summoned some further energies to push hard for a final try, all whilst the necessary 10 substitutions were made. It fell to the last play of the game to allow Finley Wood to score in the corner to take the score to 15-12 and the final whistle saw wild celebrations for the first morale boosting victory.
Friday 14th July
2 wins under the belt put a spring in the step but there were a few tired bodies that met at Wesley College for a recovery session. The school were very accommodating and we made good use of the facilities including a 50m outdoor heated swimming pool.
We then drove to Fremantle where we took a ride on the jet Boat trip which provided a thoroughly enjoyable break from the rugby. The boys had some leisure time to eat and explore 'Freeo' taking in sites like Bathers Bay or the Fremantle prison tour.
We were back with school billets at 5.30 and we look forward to moving on to Melbourne tomorrow.
Campion 1st XV vs. Nedlands RFU
Buoyed by the earlier victory achieved by their peers, the 1st XV ran out to face a sizeable set of players from Nedlands RFU.
12 weeks of hard training immediately started paying off as Campion first dealt with the physical challenge and then ripped their opponents to shreds in attack. The first 20 minutes saw some of the most exhilarating attacking phases this team has played all season.
An interchange of offloads saw Toby Tierney finish what we thought would be the best try before Harry Rogers matched him by diving over in the corner.
The sight of Andrew Williams, a prop, breaking free on halfway and charging away from on rushing defenders to score under the posts will live long in the memory. 19-0 at half time.
The second half whilst slightly less dominanty, still saw tight defence mixed with moments of attacking brilliance.
Dan Stone, outstanding throughout, added to the magical moments when he collected his own chip and chase, catching the ball one handed on the run to again stroll in under the posts.
The final stages saw the much improved line out, called brilliantly by Tom Fahy, end with a rolling maul for our final try by 16 year old Eamon Tiernan. Mr Shanahan's early Campion influence already paying off ahead of his arrival in September.
The game ended 31-14 in what was a very promising start. We expected a difficult beginning to tour and to negotiate the first two hurdles is pleasing. We do however head to Melbourne for a stiffer challenge on Sunday.
Saturday 15th July
An early start as we said goodbye to new friends in Perth and made the 3 hour flight to see old friends in Melbourne.
We arrived at St Kevin's College around 8pm and were immediately treated to the smooth operation of their tour host and Head of Rugby, Kevin Culliver.
Boys were billeted and sent away for a good sleep ahead of two more matches in the morning.
Sunday 16th July
Match day! Melbourne was noticeably cooler than Perth as we arrived on site at the beautiful St Kevin's College.
The relationship between Campion and St Kevin's is a long one and we weren't to be disappointed with the efforts that staff and parents made to accommodate us.
Two highly competitive matches ended up with the 1st losing 22-17 to Victoria State schools, whilst the 2nd XV continued the habit of late wins, coming up 8-7 against the school. See match reports for more detail!
Sunday afternoon in Melbourne means live sport so the whole tour party, plus the St Kevin's boys, travelled to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch some Aussie Rules. Opportunities such as this is what makes your so special.
We are eternally grateful for the hospitality extended by the staff and parents and look forward to reciprocating in the future!
Victoria State schools vs. Campion 1st XV
A crisp 10am kick off greeted the 1st XV who had the honour of playing first against a selection of some of the areas finest rugby players.
Once again the test was of a physical nature but the omens were good as a period of heavy pressure was soaked up before the catch and drive line out again cranked into motion allowing Eamon Tiernan to dive over for his 2nd try of the tour.
Dan Stone's boot took us into a 10-0 lead before the fast flowing expansive attack breached the Campion line twice just before half time.
10-10 at half time felt slightly disappointing but further problems came in the shape of the home teams full-back who began to dominate he's teams attack, creating two more tries stretching his sides lead to 22-10.
Campion summoned a 2nd wind but despite the best efforts, could only scrape closer with 2 more penalties. Despite this, at 22-16 down, the final play saw a line out 5 meters out give us great hope of a late victory. Unfortunately the ball was stolen and kicked dead to leave the boys to rue what might have been.
St Kevin's vs. Campion 2nd XV
The spirit of touring was seen as the battered and bruised 1st XV were joined by the state side to cheer the 2's onto the pitch.
St Kevin's have dominated school boy rugby in Melbourne in recent times and provided an early test as the scrim half and winger combined to score in the corner.
Campion remained subdued for large parts of the half, no doubt owing to increasing tour tiredness!
Half time was used to freshen things up, and the introduction of Sam Butter saw the line out begin to function much more smoothly. From here a platform was built and the diving maul became the weapon of choice for our increasingly eager forwards.
As time ticked away, Liam O'Brien dived over to put us in reach of our opponents, and once again a late flurry of action saw a penalty gained in front of the posts.
Alfie George steadied his nerves before kicking the points that gave us an 8-7 victory.
Monday 17th July
We said goodbye to St Kevin's families and staff before embarking on the 8 hour drive to Canberra.
We drove through some of the most open and rural areas of the region along the highway. Boys took the chance to sleep, play cards or listen to music.
A 6pm arrival at Canberra Grammar saw the boys billeted and taken out for dinner or something similar. Early to bed ahead of 2 big games in the morning.
Tuesday 18th July
Game day 3! The morning sunshine showed off Canberra Grammar in all its glory. A fantastic school setting with staff and pupils to match.
We took a bus trip around Canberra taking in some of the notable sights. Mount Ainslee provided the perfect point for a team photo overlooking the capital city. photo
On arrival at the school we saw the setting for the two games and began preparation for the fixtures. Canberra had worked it so the 1st XV game was played at lunchtime allowing the school to come and watch.
The opening game provided another of those memorable tour moments, as the 1st team produced the game of their lives to win 33-12. The 2nd's continued the good work, running out 33-0 winners. Both teams stepped up physically, mentally & worked tirelessly for each other.
The boys went home to enjoy their hosts hospitality ahead of the drive to Sydney in the morning.
Campion 1st XV vs. Canberra Grammar
The 1st XV oval provided the perfect setting for the game that was to prove a defining tour moment. Canberra GS are one of the most competitive sides in the area and were ready for battle with 6 ACT state representatives and the whole school out to watch.
Campion were left in no doubt of the significance of the game following Mr Mcdarby's rallying cry. From that point onwards the whole squad produced the best rugby of their time at the school.
Dan Stone's early penalty was immediately followed up with a converted try from the excellent Jake Turner.
The skill of controlling emotions is a tough one and a loss of discipline and 1 missed tackle allowed the powerful opposition to score before Harry Fisher took the opportunity to pick and go at the ruck, scoring under the posts.
The 17-7 half time score line was reduced as Canberra's Australia 'A' representative bundled over. From then on Campion showed what 7 years of hard work can deliver, producing a faultless display of strong defence & attacking flair mixed with with great opportunism.
One moment in the 32-17 victory will live on on the memory for many a year. Josh Duah, feeling aggrieved by an earlier incident, collected a grubba kick and broke down the wing, holding his composure to offload perfectly as Tom Fahy triumphantly ran in the try. Duah making use of the old-adage 'actions speak louder than words'.
Caley Gray was also worthy of note. His man of the match performance was personified in the way he hunted down and the stripped the attacking 15, leading to a 2nd try for the marauding Harry Fisher.
32 - 12 was payback for all the hard work in training. It must surely be ranked amongst the very best Campion performances. A great effort from all involved.
Wednesday 19th July
Meeting at Canberra GS for 8.30 allowed us to be on route to Manly in good time. The 3 hour cosch journey was buoyant after 2 outstanding victories.
As we closed in on the Sydney area, the coach driver took us over the iconic harbour bridge and allowed great views of the Opera house.
A light beach recovery season was followed by lunch and leisure time where the boys explored the Manly area. We were happy to see Mr Lapena arrive after some delays in Singapore. Needless to say he was a tired man on arrival.
The rest & recuperation will be welcome ahead of our next wave of matches starting on Friday.
Thursday 20th July
The beach front Novotel hotel provided us with a great base from which to recover and prepare for the next round of matches.
After an early breakfast the boys got on the coach and travelled to a nearby oval where a 90 minute training session re-focused everyone's thoughts towards game day 4.
A light lunch was followed by a surfing lesson with Manly Surf school. Everyone enjoyed although some were better than others!!
An early night ahead of checkout and travel tomorrow.
Friday 21st July
Game day 4! We travelled by coach to the Sydney suburbs and met our new hosts from Mater Maria school. The head coach had some memories of Campion as he had lived in Sidcup as a child.
The 2nd XV opened proceedings and found it tough going early against a spirited opposition and a very officious referee. A 29-0 victory was achieved through hard work and discipline.
The 1st XV game coincided with the end of school so an unexpected large and at times hostile crowd added to the spectacle.
The boys played some excellent rugby coming out 56-0 winners. See match report for more details!
From the game we checked into our new hotel and then went to Allianz park to watch an NRL game, Sydney roosters vs. Newcastle.
Tour is progressing well both on and off the pitch, and we look forward to the next challenge on Monday.
1st XV vs. Mater Maria
The wide expansive rugby played so far on tour was going to be difficult on what felt a rather narrow pitch. The arrival of 200 students to watch the game also added further spice to a spirited opposition.
True to form on this trip, the 1st XV team were able to overcome any hurdles and produced an 8 try display of fast flowing rugby. 56-0 was a fair reflection of the quality of rugby played.
The game began with captain Tom Fahy opening the scoring before the always impressive Jake Turner spotted a gap and doubled the lead.
Mater Maria offered physicality on the pitch and hostility off it. The crowd were eager to put pressure on the visitors and supported their own players with great volume.
Campion were too classy on the day, with line out and scrum offering a platform for some slick attacking play orchestrated by Dan Stone.
The game got away from the Sydney side as fatigue kicked in. Tries from Barbeau, Tiernan and another from Turner strecthed the lead before the increasingly effective Jowayne James wrapped up proceedings with a well worked try.
The post match BBQ saw Jake Turner receive the man of the match award before we left to watch the NRL game.
2nd XV vs. Mater Maria
3 wins in the bounce meant that the boys arrived at Mater Maria with s spring in their step. The hosting school were unknown to us and whilst it is activate school, the facilities were a contrast to the previous game in Canberra.
The game begun with the usual string defence, made more difficult by a referee who stood for nothing at the breakdown.
Having sin binned Liam O'Brien for a high tackle the official then awarded a penalty try for the same offence on Will North.
The rest of the half was scrappy, and it wasn't until the final minute that Billy Fletcher rumbled over to make the score 12-0 at half time.
2 more campion players were sin binned early in the second half but these perceived injustices drew the squad together, as Toni Odugbesan stretched the lead with a well finished try.
Hubert Alexandrowicz and Liam O'Brien Led the charge capitalising with tries as the spirited opposition began to tire.
By the end the score of 29-0 may have been flattering, but another win on the increasingly successful tour.
Saturday 22nd July
Mr Mcdarby's imminent new arrival meant today was a day for goodbyes. A walk from the hotel down the Sydney harbour allowed the boys to visit the opera house and stretch the legs in the botanical gardens.
Tour captain George Seager made a lovely speech and presentation to mark the departure before a light recovery session was completed in the stunning surroundings.
The afternoon saw us enjoy a 2 hour Harbour cruise before dinner and lesiure time.
We await the arrival of the new Head of Rugby Mr Shannahan in the morning as he replaces Mr Mcdarby.
Sunday 23rd July
We drove the 15 minute journey to St Ignatious Riverview where the boys were put through a training session.
A local physio attended and had a busy time as we now have many tired bodies.
The session ended and the boys went off with their new billets to enjoy some of the Sydney sights and experiences.
Mr Shannahan has arrived safely and we look forward to 2 competitive games in the morning.
1st XV vs. St Ignatious Riverview
Mr Shanahan's arrival coincided with a crushing victory of today's opponents. What had been billed as the toughest fixture provided short work from an ever improving and impressive 1st XV.
A combination of school exams and weekend fixtures meant Riverview turned up with a mix of 2s and 3s players, that said, they school produce 12 teams.
Pleasingly on this tour, year 12s have started to have more and more influence and it was Anthony Idahosa who impacted the game early, collecting the restart and prompting an early attack which led to an infringement in front of the posts allowing Dan Stone to add 3 points.
Stone added to his points tally scoring an outstanding try involving an audacious dummy switch.
The dominant performance continued as mobile prop Andrew Williams put Josh Duah away to score his first try of the trip. This was soon followed by captain Fahy scoring another well worked try as the opposition struggled to keep pace with the visitors.
The second half followed suit as Campions players came under increasing fire from the home crowd, Eamon Tiernan and debutant Jack Mason both finished smart chances to stretch the lead into the 30s.
As the game ran late into the second half, Duah took another sharp chance before a pleasing moment saw a break from Caley Gray finished by the unsung hero Harry Hussey.
The game finished at 46-0 with a mixture of elation at the result yet disappointment at the lack of test. Riverview parents were also angered by their schools decision to rest the 1st XV whilst being extremely complimentary about our performance and the behaviour of the boys.
Toby Tierney took the man of the match award.
Campion 2nd XV vs. St Ignatious Riverview
The expertise of 'Bodyworks' physio team meant the aches and pains had reduced and the squad was raring to go.
Campion were fast out of the blocks, collecting their own restart and launching an early attack from which the prolific Liam O'Brien scored his 5th try of tour.
Almost immediately the score was 14-0 when a neat pass let Finley wood break free on the left. A turn of pace and some nimble footwork saw him run the ball in under the posts as Alfie George converted.
St Ignatious steadied the ship and asked questions of a resolute campion defence which stood firm to get us in at half time.
As the sun disappeared the second half saw the home team get on the scoreboard with the powerful 13 diving over to half the deficit.
Both teams could have scored more but defence was the order of the day. A few nerves were shredded as the clock ticked down, but campion survived to make it 5 from 5
Monday 24th July
After meeting the boys at 8.30 we took the 50 minute drive to Bondi Beach where the pupils took the chance to explore the local surroundings.
The 'winter' weather of 22 degrees made it a very pleasant morning.
We travelled back to the school ahead of the two fixtures and began preparations. The opposition are historically a very strong rugby school and have 12 teams at senior level!
The 2nd team were pitched against their 4th team and came out 14-7 after a close encounter.
The 1st team faced a mixture of 3s & 2s players and won a one sided encounter 46-0.
The evening saw a BBQ hosted before the boys went home to enjoy their billets hospitality.
Tuesday 25th July
A quiet day of travel. We met the boys and said our goodbyes to St Ignatious before transferring to Sydney airport ahead of the short flight to Brisbane.
We arrived safely and took the coach to meet our final opponents at Downlands college. We have been associated with this school since 1982 and we feel tomorrow will be a fitting way to sign off from the rugby.
Wednesday 26th July
Game day 6!
Toowomba is a country town and as such, many of the boys experienced a billet who lived on farmland.
One billet took the boys 'spider-hunting' with torches. Jowayne James has never moved so fast when they finally ripped away some tree bark to reveal a Huntsman spider!
After a morning stroll around the picturesque picnic point, we traveled back to Downlands for the final games.
The 2nd team dug deep for an emotional 10-7 win, Alfie George kicking a late penalty to seal the victory. This win made for a remarkable 6th victory and a 100% record. An incredible achievement.
Buoyed by this, the 1st team entered the fray but struggled to live with an outstanding Downlands side, somehow managing to cling on to arrive at half time at 15-10 down, A flattering score line as campion had not been in the game.
The second half however was all about the Campion spirit as the team dragged themselves off the canvas and through the final 30 minutes to achieve an outstanding 25-15 victory.
Safe to say there wasn't a dry eye in the house as an incredible effort had delivered 11 out of 12 victories.
1st XV vs. Downlands
The first fifteen entered Downlands college oval led by captain Tom Fahy for what would be the last time, as this game was the last on tour and obviously the last game in red & black for our upper sixth boys.
The game started with great intensity. The home team played with real width in attack which caused Campion a lot of problems in the wider channels, however it was Campion who struck the first blow with a penalty from Stone.
After a period of outstanding defence, the Australian barrage finally took its toll when the Downlands fullback cantered in the corner after nice interlinking play with the fly half. The try was converted making the score 7-3. This was quickly followed by a penalty for hands in the Ruck - scoreline 10-3.
Downlands turned the screw for another try this time from the talented Open side who was later named man of the match. He broke through the middle of the campion defensive line from a kick return. Conversion unsuccessful making the score line 15-3
After some strong words under the sticks the Campion boys rallied and applied their own attacking pressure on the hosts.
Excellent play in the wide channels from Fahy and Tiernan put Campion on the front foot. A kick through from Jack Mason gave us good field position which led to a Jowayne James pick and go under the sticks loudly cheered by Mr Jones! The conversion by Stone 15-10 game on.
The last kick of the half was from Toby Tierney with a long range penalty from the half way line which had the legs but unfortunately pulled to the right. Scoreline stayed at 15-10.
The start of the second half saw Campion play with greater fluidity, excellent tactical kicking from Jake Turner and Dan Stone gave Campion field position which they had lacked in the first half. After playing in the right areas for a large part of the second half Toby Tierney ran an exceptional line and scored just right off the posts. Not seen in the modern game Dan Stone's conversion was charged down leaving the score heading in the final 20 minutes, 15-15.
Campions pressure on the hosts continued with a penalty in front of the sticks from Stone making the scoreline 18-15.
The game still tightly in the balance went back and forth, however it was Campion with their greater field position who took command in the final minutes. A catch and drive deep in the oppositions half saw captain Tom Fahy barrel over for the match winner. Stone just pulled the conversion making the final scoreline 25-15 Campion Victorious.
That final whistle was the cue for a wave of emotion. 7 years of Rugby over, 12 weeks of hard graft completed, 6 of the toughest fixtures navigated. Tears of elation were widespread as the boys congratulated each other on a job done! Thanks for having us Australia!
2nd XV vs. Downlands
The 2nd XV entered the fray with one objective - to go 6 from 6 and remain undefeated Down Under, a sentiment that was only enriched by the fixture being the final time to wear the Campion badge for the leaving Year 13's, led by captain Liam O'Brien and typified by tour captain George Seager.
The occasion rocked a few players and Downlands College started strongly, with Campion making unforced errors and the DC players looking to take advantage through fast-paced attack from anywhere on the field. The Campion scramble defence reacted well to clear up most dangers however was caught short on one occasion where the DC players moved the ball well to make an outside break and an excellent offload in the cover double tackle of James Allen & Adam Higgins meant that DC scored to go 7-0 after a successful conversion.
Campion rallied well, with notable physical performances from Ryan Illing, Callum Forster and Billy Fletcher, who all carried hard to breach the gain line head on. DC held strong in their own 22m, despite committing cynical penalty after penalty to slow Campions attack, and a try was inevitable. The ever-present physical forward pack of Campion chipped away at the DC defence to draw in defenders, with Justin Idahosa wriggling his way over the try line for a huge 5-pointer that shifted the balance of momentum. Alfie George coolly slotted the conversion to bring the game to 7-7 at half time.
The second half saw stalwarts Jacob French and Odugbesan enter the fray to bring some accuracy to kicking and calmer, experience heads. Odugbesan was a nuisance around the breakdown, a clever flanker who has stepped up to be counted all tour long.
Continued Campion pressure created confidence and bred exuberance amongst the backline, with Rogers, Higgins, Wood & Allen all making outside breaks that weren't finished. The tough 6 game tour was slowly breaking down the bodies of our 2nd XV, however they remained mentally resilient.
More tactical substitutions solidified the Campion scrum that sometimes struggled against the DC pack, coached by ex-Wallaby international Garrick Morgan. The resultant possession gave Campion a penalty 25m out, 15m from touch, with George stepping up to assume responsibility as the teams goal-kicker to calmly take 3 points in blustery conditions. Great nerve from the youngest squad member on tour.
DC were rallied to not go down at home in front of a large crowd to an English side, but the Campion tackles came thick and fast to chop any potential attack and force errors that eventually saw the time escape the DC team. Scenes of jubilation at the final whistle was followed by tears of joy and pride in the badge.
6/6 - 100% in Australia. Job done.
Thursday 27th July
Boys woke up still smiling after the victories the previous evening. Downlands were once again outstanding hosts and we hope to meet up with them in the not too distant future.
The coach journey was bearable as we made our way to the Gold Coast and to surfers paradise.
Check in to the QT was smooth and the boys found there bearings with a little leisure time before a squad dinner in the evening.
Friday 28th July
The highlight of tour for some may well be the breakfast on offer at our hotel! It was still digesting as we took the coach journey to Wet & Wild water park, 30 minutes out of town.
Staff and boys alike enjoyed a lovely day out although Mr Squire & Mr Shanahan both went a slightly pale colour after exiting the 'Kamikaze' ride!
We returned to our hotel on the evening ahead of leisure time for the tourists.
Saturday 29th July
The tallest building in Brisbane was the focus of the day as we took on the relatively new 'sky climb' attraction, made famous in the most recent 'I'm a celebrity' series.
Boys got to experience the awe inspiring climb with some incredible views of Brisbane. Out to sea we were fortunate enough to witness a group of whales making their way through the Gold Coast.
Squad dinner & tour presentation was the main event in the evening. We gathered in a restaurant for our final meal before the tour was closed with the final awards being handed out.
- 2nd XV Players Player - Liam O'Brien
- 2nd XV Player of Tour - Toni Odugbesan
- 2nd XV Unsung Hero - Callum Forster
- 1st XV Players Player - Harry Fisher
- 1st XV Player of Tour - Eamon Tiernan
- 1st XV Unsung Hero - Cuan Barbeau
- Most progress - Finn Wood & Dylan Lanfear
- James Patterson Award - Harry Hussey