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Rugby Tour Diary

Day 1

It was a bright start as the tour party assembled at The Pavilion at 6am. After some photographs and final goodbyes the group set off towards Heathrow Terminal 3. A relatively smooth check in saw the squad in good form as they started the 13-hour flight to Singapore.

Day 2

At 7.30am the tour party arrived in Singapore. There were only two hours before the onward flight to Perth, so a bit of shopping and some refreshments before we got on the train link to our Gate and boarded our flight to Perth. One member of the tour party had not seen enough of Singapore and decided he wanted to stay for a bit longer. Mr Lewis, on his birthday, was delighted and agreed to spend a night in Singapore. We all hope that Mr Lewis and his travelling companion are able to join us tomorrow in Perth! On arrival in Perth we checked into the Sorrento Beach Resort and enjoyed a few hours of spare time. Some of the boys relaxed in the hotel while others played touch rugby on the beach. The tour party then strolled along the beach and enjoyed a first meal together at Hillary's Boat Harbour. Tomorrow sees our first training session in the morning, before visiting King's Park and then on to our first hosts, Hale School.

Day 3

Today the tour really got going and we have had a really positive day. After a good night's sleep we woke at 8.30 and all enjoyed a full breakfast. We then packed the bus and headed to Admiral Park for a training session, which ended up being 3 hours long. The attitude of the boys was first class and we got through a huge amount of work in preparation for our first match tomorrow. Henry Hill & Zander Balls ended up as kit boys for being late to the bus and also had to do some extra fitness runs at the end of the session. Henry Hill is expected to be the tours regular latecomer and more fines will be issued in due course! After the training session we packed up and headed for a local shopping centre for some lunch before travelling to King's Park. King's Park has a fantastic War Memorial and some beautiful views across the Swan River and the City of Perth (see gallery photos). It was then back on the bus and on to Hale School. We were met by their staff as their team prepared for tomorrow's match. The boys were then introduced to their hosts and have gone off for the evening. Tomorrow will see a visit to Fremantle Prison and to a local market before returning for what will be a very tough match against Hale School. In other news, Mr Lewis and his travelling companion have had enough of Singapore and have decided to join us in the morning. Both will be suitably fined for having time off from the main tour party and effectively going 'off tour'. Remember you can also follow us on twitter @DauntseysRugby.

Day 4

It has been another long and busy day for the tour group. The day started at Hale School with the boys arriving from their first evening being billeted by families. The boys were all very happy and had clearly enjoyed the wonderful hospitality they had received form their host families. Being hosted by families is one of the key aspects of schoolboy tours and it was immediately obvious how content the boys were. We travelled to Fremantle Prison for a tour with Steve. Fremantle was one of the original prisons in Western Australia and the home to many convicts before becoming an open prison. The prison only closed in 1991 and was a real insight into the history of Australia, enjoyed and respected by all of the boys. Sam F was introduced to the flogging post and the cat o' nine tails for obvious reasons (see pictures). A few hours in Fremantle for lunch and we returned to Hale School to prepare for our first match. The squad trained well for an hour in preparation for the match. The aim of today's match was to play all available players and give them all an experience of playing on tour and this was achieved with all the boys giving their best. The first half performance was well beyond what we expected with our limited preparation time, but confirmed that with continued hard work and application on the training field we can only get better. Two tries from Will Thomas & George Lishman and a penalty and two conversions gave us a 17-0 half time lead. With plenty of changes in the second half and Hale scoring an excellent early try, Will Thomas & Ed long scored further tries as we eventually won the game 29-7. A lot to work on but an excellent first game. After the match we were treated to a superb after match BBQ and many thanks to Hale Rugby Club and all the parents for all their efforts, it was first class. There were speeches from the captains and coaches and presentations of school memorobilia. Congratulations to Henry Hill & Ed Long who were awarded the players of the match from Hale School. The hosting and hospitality offered to us by Hale School has been incredible and many thank to the Headmaster for his kind words and the coaches, parents and players of Hale School who have made our first few days of our tour so  welcoming. We have a day off tomorrow and are looking forward to a day at Caversham Wildlife Park and a round of golf weather permitting.

NOTE - Gallery pictures are now ordered with newest first.

Day 5

Today has been nice and relaxing and the boys were all in great spirits after yesterday. We met them at Hale School and travelled north of Perth to Caversham Wildlife Park. Bertie had managed to forget the 'Wig of Stupidty' and ended up wearing a nice hat we purchased for him (see gallery picture). Caversham Wildlife Park is always one of the highlights of this trip, simply because it is an opportunity to meet a wombat! We were given an excellent tour around the park by our guide and the boys met Koalas, Kangaroos and many other creatures. We were also given a Farm Show where Rahul showed his talent with a whip in front of an audience of around 75 people. He eventually made the whip 'crack' after 5 attempts, but only after he had managed to almost take his own head off. Cows were milked, kangaroos were fed and the wombat just sat there looking totally hacked off with life for the whole duration of our visit. #wombatday. After lunch and some shopping we headed south to play Supa Golf. The boys gave it their all, although it is fair to say that the standard can at best be described as dismal. But at least we had some spare time afterwards for Oli and Bertie to play on the swings in the children's playground. We then stopped briefly at the Chocolate Factory on the way back, a number of boys said they would buy their mums a present, but it became obvious that they were only there for the free chocolate samples that were on offer. So we left the Chocolate Factory stuffed with chocolate and not a single present purchased. We returned to Hale School where the boys have gone for their final night with their hosts. We meet back at Hale in the morning for a training session before heading in to central Perth for our final night together in Western Australia.

Day 6

This morning we said goodbye to Hale School and we are all extremely grateful for the way that we have been looked after since our arrival at the start of the week. We had a two and a half hour training session with some very hard rain showers at times, the attitude was very positive and we are looking forward to our next game in Sydney. We have checked in to the Pan Pacific Hotel in central Perth for an afternoon of rest and relaxation. The boys will be swimming in the outside pool, shopping or for most, sleeping. At 4pm the forwards have a conditioning session in the gym and the backs are on at 5pm. We are looking forward to an evening meal together as we say goodbye to Perth, before an early night. Alarms will be set for 5.30am as we head towards Sydney for the next phase of the tour.

Day 7

It was an early start to the day with a full breakfast at the Pan Pacific Hotel at 6am. We then boarded the coach and our driver for the week, Rino, drove us to Perth airport. It was a 3 and a half hour flight across the country and we landed in Sydney mid-afternoon. There is an extra two hours time difference and we are now 9 hours ahead of the uk. After check in and a brief break we walked down to Darling Harbour for an evening meal at the Blackbird. We also caught up with old boys Tom Mutton and Paddy Gompels and it was great to see them so positive about life in Sydney. Tomorrow we have a very busy day with a Jet Boat ride in the morning across Sydney Harbour, followed by a trip to Manly and then we are watching an AFL game in the evening - Sydney Swans vs St Kilda.

Day 8

Today has been a very busy day with a lot of activities. The day started with a leisurely stroll through Sydney and down to Circular Quay. We took the obligatory photos in front of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, before getting ready for our Jet Boat trips around the Harbour. This turned out to be a superb experience for all the tour party, although leaving us all totally soaked for the next few hours. We then headed across to Manly on the ferry for a few hours on the beach, some of the boys swam and others surfed in what turned out to be a beautiful winter's day. We then got back on the ferry to head back across to Circular Quay to meet our bus. The tour party then transferred to the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch an AFL game between the Sydney Swans and St Kilda, it was a difference experience for most of us and a game that the Swans won easily. Tomorrow sees a relaxed start to the day before we head up to meet our next hosts at William Clarke College.

Day 9

It has been another beautiful sunny day in Sydney and the squad is in great spirit. The morning was taken easy with a 9am breakfast before checking out of the hotel and boarding the coach. We had a bit of time before heading to William Clarke College, so we decided to visit Mrs Macquaries's chair. Mrs Macquarie's chair was hand crafted by convicts in 1810 in the shape of a bench, so Governor Macquarie's wife could sit and watch the ships from Great Britain arrive in the harbour. It is on a peninsula and gives superb views across the harbour. The boys enjoyed taking pictures across the harbour (see gallery). We then transferred to William Clarke College where we were met by our host Ben Carr. We then trained for an hour and a half in preparation for tomorrow's match. A lot of the younger boys are starting tomorrow's game and they worked well in training, ably supported by some of the senior players. At 3.00pm the boys were taken away by their new hosts and we will all meet up at the School tomorrow morning before heading to the Olympic Park.

Day 10

We regrouped at 8.30am at William Clarke College and it was clear that the boys had had a good night with their hosts. We drove to the Olympic Park and were given a fantastic tour of the ANZ stadium, the wig of stupidity was passed around, but eventually settled on Dan Hammond's head as the tour started without him! After the tour we wandered up to the Aquatic Centre and the boys enjoyed a swim in the various olympic pools, although most of their time was spent in the infant's pool chasing each other around the rapids! Lunch followed and then we made our way back up to William Clarke College to prepare for our second match. The match started well with some good pressure, but we made too many mistakes and the William Clarke defence was excellent. Eventually a set piece move saw Tom Lewis score and Will Thomas converted it to make it 7-0. William Clarke came back at us and scored just before half time, to make the score 7 all at half time. At half time we spoke about keeping the ball and doing the basics well and this is exactly what we started to do. We scored further tries from Henry Hill and Alex Costard with Charlie State getting two. Will Thomas has been kicking superbly and converted all four of them. The game was won 35-7 and again it was great to see all 25 boys play in the match. The game was played in superb spirit and both sets of boys deserve credit for the way they represented their School. The match was followed with a 'sausage sizzle', speeches and presentations. I would like to thank everyone at William Clarke College for the wonderful hospitality we have received from staff, parents and players, and my particular thanks once again to Ben Carr. Tomorrow we board the coach and make the journey north to Port Macquarie.

Day 11

We said goodbye to William Clarke College first thing this morning and it was great to see the boys playing touch rugby with their pupils as we waited for our bus to fight its way through the Sydney traffic. The first couple of hours of the journey were spent with most of the tour party sleeping on the bus as we headed up the coast. It is a beautiful drive and apart from a 45 minute stop for lunch it was a peaceful and enjoyable journey. We arrived at St Joseph's Regional College at 2.30pm and we were met by our new hosts. It was lovely to see our boys automatically mingling and talking to various members of the School. This will now be our third set of hosts and it is great to see how relaxed the boys have become meeting and getting to know new people. The idea of a tour is to try new experiences and although we will be hosted by St Joseph's pupils, only a few will actually play against us tomorrow night, as we will be playing a local club side - the 'Pirates'. Port Macquarie is a beautiful place and we will try and get some good photos over the next few days.

Day 12

It has been another busy and very enjoyable day in Australia. The squad arrived at St Joseph's Regional College at  8.30am and spent an hour and fifteen minutes training in preparation for the evenings match. The session went well and the boys all focused and worked well in the various drills. We then packed up and made our way to Town Beach, 25 degrees in the middle of winter and the boys were able to enjoy themselves for an hour. We then took a stroll along the front and it was lovely to catch up with Allison O'Brien who was one of the first GAP Students we ever had at Dauntsey's, with her husband Cameron and her daughter Ella. We gave the boys some lunch before getting out of the sun for a few hours as we enjoyed the film 'Dunkirk'. We then returned to the School for the boys to head home. At 5pm we met at the Port Pirates Rugby Club in preparation for our match. It was a great setting and it was nice to be able to give the boys the opportunity to play at a rugby club under floodlights. The first half was once again quite scrappy, but great individual tries from Rahul Patel, Henry Hill & Will Thomas gave us a 17-0 half time lead. Many of the youngsters really stepped up and in particular Guy Harmer & Hamish Gardner. Just like the previous game we improved in the second half and ran out 44-7 winners. After the match we had a 'sausage sizzle' and then the presentations. There was a good crowd at the match with support from the Pirates Club and out host families. As always we were really well looked after and I am very grateful to the host School and the Pirates for making us most welcome. The Port Pirates are a great rugby club and we wish them well for their last games of the season. Tomorrow we have a day off and we look forward to going to a Koala Hospital, playing Hydro Golf and visiting Lighthouse Beach!

Day 13

We have had a nice relaxing day here in Port Macquarie. Having left the School this morning we headed to a Koala Hospital. A very interesting place with lots of excellent work being done to help many injured or ill Koalas.  Rahul was tasked with finding out 3 facts about them that we did not know. He delivered these facts to the group on the bus and Fact 1 was 'They are not bears but Markoopials', hence the bus erupted into laughter - Rahul has been a top tourist. We then headed to play 'Hydro Golf' and 'Putt Putt'. Hydro Golf is hitting balls off a driving range and aiming for targets in the water, the boys tried hard and showed improvement. After a nice lunch at the Sports Club we visited Lighthouse Beach and onto Town Beach, the boys all had a swim and enjoyed themselves before we headed back to School. Tomorrow sees us say goodbye to Port Macquarie and make our way inland to Tamworth.

Day 14

After saying goodbye to our friends from Port Macquarie, we boarded the bus and Principal John McQueen spoke to the boys. He said some very kind words about how many of their host families had commented about how excellent their behaviour had been, which is always great to hear. We then drove up across the mountains for 4 hours to our next destination, Tamworth. It was a stunning drive along very windy roads and we are grateful to our driver who gave us some background information on the area. We were met at Farrer Agricultural School and given a guided tour around the farm and the School itself. It is an incredible place that operates as a business. It is a State School, but all the boys are involved in working on the farm. They have cattle, pigs and sheep and for example the Year 8 pupils look after the pigs and the Year 9 pupils milk the cows at 6.00am and again in the evening. This brief description does not do it justice and please do have a lot at their website. It is an all boys school where sport is a priority and we very much look forward to the match in the morning. The boys have gone home with their families and all is well.

Day 15

It was a beautiful sunny morning in Tamworth as the boys assembled at Farrer Agricultural School at 9.30am for the final tour match. There cannot be many more beautiful pitches, with the mountains as a back drop it was hard to believe it was the middle of the winter. The boys were focused and ready for the challenge ahead. The first half we retained the ball well and eventually Will Thomas scored and he then converted. The first half we found some gaps in the defence and a further try from Will Thomas and tries from Chester Barnes & Henry Hill gave us a 22-0 half time lead. The second half was much tougher and Farrer started playing some rugby and we kept conceding penalties, before they eventually scored in the corner to make it 22-7. We were under pressure but a late try from Hamish Gardner saw the match won 27-7. We have completed the tour unbeaten with 4 from 4, but more importantly again today all the players played and we return home with no injuries ready for the start of the season. The boys have been outstanding on this tour and have come on a long way in three weeks. I am delighted that all the boys have played in every match and they have gelled as a squad. We had a superb BBQ after the match with amazing steak and sausage sandwiches. The boys have all gone home with their host families and many families have lots of interesting things to do for the rest of the day. Farrer have hosted us really well and I am pleased to say that all members of the squad seemed happy when they left after the game today. Tomorrow we make the final trip to Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast for our final few days of rest and relaxation before heading home on Tuesday.

Day 16

It was our final goodbye as we left Farrer Agricultural School at 9.00am. It has been a slow, long journey up to the Gold Coast which has taken us 7 hours, we stopped twice on the way and the boys are now happy to have settled in at the Mantra Legends Hotel at Surfer's Paradise. We have a few hours to relax before we head down to the Surfer's Club for our evening meal where we will be celebrating Ollie Reeve's 15th birthday. Tomorrow we head to Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo before going out for our final tour dinner tomorrow night.

Day 17

After a relaxing breakfast we set off north to visit Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo near Brisbane. The boys were given a free day to enjoy the various shows at the zoo. Everyone was in great spirit and we headed back about 5.00pm. This evening we are off to the Hard Rock Cafe for our final tour dinner, there will be a few presentations and we are looking forward to a relaxing final evening together. Tomorrow morning the boys have a 2-hour surf lesson booked before spending our final day on the beach or last minute shopping.

Day 18

It has been a fantastic final day here in Australia. With no time pressures for breakfast, we assembled in the foyer of the Mantra Legends Hotel. A relaxed walk down to the beach and 16 of the squad took up the offer of surf lessons, the boys did really well and we have some great video clips and pictures. Other boys swam in the sea and many of them went shopping for last minute presents. As I sit and write from the foyer of the hotel, we are about to say goodbye to Mr Lewis who is flying over to Auckland to see his family. Mr Lewis has once again been excellent on tour and after his extra stay in Singapore he has also spent the past week on antibiotics and has been really unwell. I would like to thank him on behalf of the whole squad for all his support both during and in the build up to the tour. I would also like to thank Mr Whyte for all of his support. It is probably a good time to sit and reflect on the tour and it was great sharing last evening with the boys at the final tour dinner. They have been a real pleasure to travel with and have surpassed all expectations on the rugby field. Last night we thanked our tour captain Will Thomas for his leadership, he has been exceptional throughout. Will Fitzgibbon was awarded 'Best Young Player' and Rahul Patel 'Top Tourist'. Sam Ferguson was given a special t-shirt that he will be wearing all the way home, with a nice simple slogan on the front - 'Anyone seen my passport?'. I would like to thank the boys for my designer hoodie which they bought at no expense from lastminute.com. To be able to return unbeaten and with all boys fully fit is an added bonus and I am sure that after a relaxing summer break the boys will be ready for the start of the season in September. They have shown the potential to play some excellent rugby and I hope all the lessons learnt on this trip will drive them on to be better rugby players in the future. They have represented Dauntsey's School with pride and have had nothing but compliments all the way around. To end the tour diary I would like to thank all the parents and sponsors for their support in giving these boys a trip of a lifetime.

Have a great summer!

End of Blog!

Marcus Olsen (Head of Rugby)