On October 21st, at 4am, 24 senior rugby players and 3 staff set off for Italy in search of culture, competition and a little sun. The flight from Heathrow was quick, a mere one hour and fifty minutes, and on arrival the coach to Lake Garda was nice and comfortable. The boys enjoyed the sports facilities on site getting straight into training after a light lunch, preparing for the first fixture the following day. On the first evening there was only one thing to do and that was to watch England vs South Africa in the first World Cup semi-final which proved to be a great game, albeit England fell just short.
After a restful night’s sleep, the squad took the coach ride past Verona to our first fixture against fancied Rovigo Delta. The match kicked off under the hot Italian sun and it was entertaining for all watching with both teams not afraid to throw the ball around. It was Tiffin’s accuracy in attack in the first half and defense in the second half which helped them come out on top 42-21 in the end. A helping of pasta and prize giving followed and, as always, the Italians were extremely hospitable. The squad then traveled to watch a regional game played at Verona Rugby Club attended by a couple of thousand locals at least. Some good rugby from Verona helped them secure a thumping win.
Day three saw the boys travel across to the port to catch a ferry to Venice. However many times you go it never fails to astonish, a beautiful city from every angle. The boys spent a few hours getting lost in the maze of canals and streets and eventually found their way back to St Mark’s square from which we caught the ferry home and back for a good night’s rest before game two the next day.
An early morning team run in the pouring rain set the squad up perfectly for a game that was going to be played in the same conditions. After lunch the rain cleared perfectly for our brief visit into the beautiful city of Verona before heading onto Rugby Bassa Bresciana Leno. As the boys warmed up the flood lights came on and the scene was set. It was one for the purists with Tiffin’s forwards over powering a brave Italian side. The second half was scrappy and the hosts scored a couple of times but not enough to cause too much trouble with Tiffin running out 29-12 victors. The hosts were exceptional after the game, bringing out the speaker and both sides getting involved in a few sing-alongs – even a dirty dancing performance was seen from members of both squads which was great to see. Thank you Rugby Bassa Bresciana, we hope to be back one day to enjoy more of your hospitality.
The final day saw the squad check-out of the hotel and travel to Milan where they spent the afternoon before heading to the airport. A few tired bodies stumbled onto the plane and eventually out of the coach at Tiffin where their well-rested parents were waiting. A great trip all around and the boys were a credit to the school and themselves.
Their record now stands at a remarkable 10 wins with zero losses, an encounter against Coopers’ Company & Coburn School in the Fourth Round of the National Vase is on the horizon – best of luck to the 1st XV, as well as the rest of Tiffin’s athletes for the half term ahead.