Rugby boys tour Lisbon - Hurstpierpoint College

Rugby boys tour Lisbon

U12 and U13 Prep pupils take part on first overseas trip

There was an early start last Sunday as 30 young rugby players – and four members of staff – met at Gatwick to fly out on their first overseas rugby tour. On arrival in Portugal, the group were greeted by their tour guide Zé who stayed with them for the duration of the trip.  

First stop was Lisbon Old Town for a buffet-style lunch fest, after which and full of renewed energy, the boys boarded the coach to the Benfica Football Stadium for a tour. They were in awe at the size of the stadium and enjoyed sitting in the changing rooms and walking out of the tunnel onto the pitch where they met the three Benfica Eagles that parade around the ground, scaring off other birds, before a match. A visit to the stadium store followed with many boys buying souvenirs of their visit, before it was time to check into the hotel, have dinner and take a stroll along the beach before some heavy heads hit their pillows. 

A hearty ‘all-you-can eat’ breakfast greeted the boys on day two, as everyone left feeling full to the brim. The group walked to a local sports club for their first training session, enjoying a very productive session and the heat of the sun on their backs as they prepared for the evening’s matches. They then headed to the Olympic Stadium for a look around, and the boys spent some time at an adventure playground before lunch. After lunch they played 36 holes of mini-golf and went kayaking around the rivers of the Olympic Park. In the evening they played the first set of matches against CD Direito Rugby, a club whose adults are in Portugal’s top league. The boys played some great matches as the U12s secured a win, with Ollie G winning man of the match, but our U13s had a much tougher game against their counterparts, the Portuguese Champions, although they stuck together and fought right to the end with Ra H winning man of the match for his immense tackling display. A good meal and socialising with the opposition in the clubhouse afterwards was a great end to their day.

A lie-in was on the menu the next morning, followed by another hearty breakfast, in preparation for a one-hour training session and then it was off to the beach for a body-boarding masterclass and fort-building experience, led by Mr Kift. Later the group took a guided sightseeing tour of Lisbon and sampled a local delicacy – Pastel de Nata (Portugese custard tart). The Hurst Ten-pin Bowling Championships was held late afternoon, which was a great way to pass a couple of hours before dinner and an early night.

Another busy day awaited the boys, starting with three hours of surfing the next morning, when Mr Kift was head judge and awarded some prizes. Following a lovely lunch at a beachside restaurant, the boys then headed for the beach/play area at the hotel, as forts were built, football was played and some even helped the local fishermen bring in their catch of the day! They then boarded the bus for their final set of matches. The opposition’s men’s team, Agronomia, are Portuguese national champions, so a tough evening was expected. Our U12s won 5-1, in what was an epic display, and Reece A was awarded man of the match, although it probably could have gone to any one of the boys. The U13s had a much-improved display and with the roaring support of the U12s, they narrowly lost 6-5 with Luca R picking up man of the match. Dinner and awards followed, as well presentation of their tour ‘caps’, then off to bed for four hours before the group had to leave for the airport. 

An early 3.00 am wakeup call is never easy, particularly after a jam-packed four days, but the boys were super-efficient in packing, tidying rooms and checking out, and although their flight was slightly delayed, the group arrived home safely. 

“I would like to thank the Mr Pierrepont, Mr Kift and Mr Woodhead for their help on the trip and I hope that the boys had a truly unforgettable time,” Ben Dewey, Head of Boys’ Sport (Prep).