Ta­hara rugby boys re­turn home

Taupo Times - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - TAMARA THORN

The dream has been re­alised for a squad of boys who have re­turned home from their South African Rugby Tour.

Tauhara Col­lege First 15 had a three game rugby tour, com­bined with a two week cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

The group of 22 boys, five staff and four sup­port­ing par­ents grew a strong bond and got an ex­pe­ri­ence that not ev­ery school has the op­por­tu­nity to have.

Cap­i­tan of the squad Dy­lan Mac­don­ald said the ex­pe­ri­ence was eye open­ing as some mem­bers of the team had ex­pec­ta­tions and stereo­types of what South Africa would be like.

‘‘Go­ing over you see a dif­fer­ent life style,’’ he said, and it is amaz­ing how good we have it here in New Zealand, ‘‘we are re­ally lucky.’’

Mac­don­ald said play­ing rugby against three dif­fer­ent South African teams was com­pletely dif­fer­ent, as foot­ball teams over there are very skilled. They won two of their three games.

Coach Phill An­drews said the ex­pe­ri­ence was life chang­ing for a lot of the team. Many of the boys had never been on a plane or left the coun­try be­fore. ‘‘It was a mas­sive trip.’’ He said the tour ‘‘proves that there is more to rugby than just the game, and it was also about mak­ing new friends around the world and shar­ing cul­tures.

‘‘The cul­ture and team have re­ally bonded.. it shows how close we have come as a team, and the boys loved it.’’

‘‘It is about tak­ing Kiwi cul­ture there and bring­ing South African cul­ture back.’’

Mac­don­ald said ev­ery­where the team went they were asked to pre­form the haka, and ev­ery game started with a haka.

‘‘They treated us like we were All Blacks,’’ he said.

He said be­ing over there made the team ap­pre­ci­ate what they have back home. Stu­dents in South Africa ‘‘are so happy with so lit­tle com­pared to what we have.’’

While there the team do­nated school sta­tion­ary and ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties such as cloth­ing to help the un­der priv­i­leged schools and peo­ple they vis­ited.

The team spent nine months fundrais­ing and had a lot of help and fi­nan­cial sup­port from fam­ily and friends, and ‘‘their hard work is much ap­pre­ci­ated,’’ said An­drews.

He said with­out the man­age­ment team who put in the count­less hours be­hind the scenes, the trip would not be pos­si­ble.

An­drews and Mac­don­ald said this tour tops off a good sea­son of Tauhara Rugby.

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