The eyes of the rugby playing world will turn to England this autumn when the 2015 World Cup kicks off next month, but for the U16 teams from the Glyn School in Epsom, Canada has been the focus of all their attention recently following the traditional end-of-year tour.
In addition to the two touring sides each playing four games, matches, the tour also took in such highlights as going to a Toronto Blue Jays baseball match, visiting the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, seeing Niagra Falls, and a beach volleyball tournament at the PanAmerican Games.
“We’ve been going overseas regularly now for nearly 20 years,” said tour organiser Matt Hawkes. “In the past we’ve been to Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Australia, but Canada has always proved a particularly popular and affordable place to visit, which is why we went there this year”.
Finance is important – not just in terms of how money is raised for the trip, but also how those funds are used. “It takes about 18 months of dedication and hard work by the boys and their families for the trip to come together,” Mr Hawkes explained. “We put on all kinds of events to bring in money, and we’re also lucky enough to have the support of some very generous sponsors, but each tour always has a charity, which also benefits. The cause we chose this year was the Royal Marsden cancer fund. We donated £800 from our kitty, beating
last year’s total of £600.
“Team sports and rugby in particular are about character-building as much as the physical aspect of things, so the whole experience of going on tour is an educational process. Having that long-term goal and working towards it, going abroad and being an ambassador for your school and your country – and also being aware of the charity aspect, and in the midst of something you enjoy so much, being aware of others. These are all very important things, and they’re all as much part of the experience as playing matches or the fun that goes with it.
“On and off the pitch in Canada, these boys were a great credit to their school. They’ve come back home with memories that will last them a lifetime, new friendships and knowledge of a different way of life. That’s something we hope will happen on every Glyn rugby tour, and they’ve done a great job in keeping that record going.”
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