MJRU New Zealand Tour 2015
MARLINS NZ 2015 – TOUR REPORT
Tuesday 7th April - After meeting bright and early at Keirle Park, the Marlins made their way to the airport for their flights to Auckland. Upon arrival in NZ, the grouped headed straight to the hallowed turf of Eden Park. Having enjoyed a guided tour, the group tucked into some fish and chips in the exclusive NZ Barbarians Lounge. That evening we met our hosts from Takapuna and the boys headed home with their respective families.
Wednesday 8th April – In the morning the tour party enjoyed an adventure up Sky Tower in Auckland city and then got up close and personal with the Auckland Blues at their final training session in preparation for their game against the Brumbies. We played our first game sof the tour in the afternoon; the under 11s met a bigger and stronger U12’s team, they played bravely hut were out muscled in the end. The Under 12’s were put in an awkward position, being faced with 14 and 15 year old boys as opponents, after much discussion, a game was played with modified rules to improve the players safety. The Takapuna families were brilliant hosts at the after match function.
Thursday 9th April – The bus ride down to Rotorua took 3.5 hours by the time the group arrived at Owhata Marae. We were welcomed onto the Maori land in a traditional Powhiri ceremony and the boys behaved superbly, showing enormous respect for the moment and their hosts, they also sang proudly for the local family. After demolishing some lunch the boys spent the afternoon relaxing at Waikite Thermal Pools. It was an interesting night back at the Marae, with talent contest, trivia games and 54 people sleeping in the same room.
Friday 10th April – This morning the group enjoyed the sulphur aromas at the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village and took part in the cultural display with a rousing rendition of the Manly Boom Boom. After a brief pitt stop for lunch, we took the Skyline Gondola up the hill and screamed back down on the thrilling luge ride. The boys and staff had a blast. We met the billets from Kahukura rugby club in the early evening and the boys headed home with their families.
Saturday 11th April – The group assembled in the morning at Kahukura Rugby Club for the fixtures. Both games were very one sided and the coaches did their best to manage the games and keep it enjoyable for all. The boys spent the afternoon with their billets. Again, the local families were brilliant with the boys and went out of their way to ensure we had a great stay.
Sunday 12th April – The boys were collected from the club bright and early and headed west to New Plymouth. The bus ride was tough for many of the boys, the winding roads caused a lot of sickness. Arriving at our destination late afternoon, the players stretched their legs and everything else at the Bounce inflatable theme park. Dinner was served at the NPOB rugby club and the boys met and went home with their billet families.
Monday 13th April – It was a wild, windy and rainy day firstly at the Taranaki Stadium and then at the Kaitake Rugby Club. A sensational setting for a footy field, and extremely hospitable hosts, made the day very enjoyable. At stages in the games the rain pelted in sideways and the crowd took cover, other stages it was glorious sunshine. The games were very one sided, however, the local boys never gave up. The players spent the evening with the host families.
Tuesday 14th April – Another bus drive this morning with a couple of stops along the way. Getting to Hutt Old Boys mid-afternoon, the players met their billets and headed home with them straight away. They were entertained with a wide variety of activities including rock climbing, movies and trampolining.
Wednesday 15th April – This morning the staff and players assembled at Naenae College in Lower Hutt, a picturesque setting, for the final game of the tour. Both Hutt teams performed a rousing “Haka” prior to kick off, and it was an honour for our boys to face. The 11’s played some entertaining rugby and the 12’s had their most competitive game of the tour. The games were played in great spirits and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The locals were brilliant hosts for the staff and the boys enjoyed some more activities with their new kiwi mates in the evening.
Thursday 16th April – The group was collected from HOBM club in the morning and headed into town for some last minute shopping and sightseeing. A great big pasta feed for lunch and a few presentations for the boys then off to the airport for the flights home.
A brilliant trip for these young men, I’m sure they’ll have many stories to tell and memories to last for years down the track. Existing friendships were cemented whilst new friendships formed. All our Kiwi hosts were overwhelmingly hospitable and the players loved the billeting experience. The boys were very well behaved and respectful of the Maori people, their cultures and traditions as well as being well mannered when staying with their host families. It was a pleasure for all the coaching staff to be involved with and we were grateful for the privilege of looking after the boys. May there be many more Marlins on tour.