Forty-four KES pupils have recently returned from a very successful Rugby and Netball Tour to South Africa. The first leg of the trip started in Cape Town and was spent in the Western Cape, with matches played against a development side in the township community of Langa before heading out of Cape Town for fixtures in Paarl (rugby), Worcester (netball) and Bredarsdorp. The second leg of the trip started in Durban, with matches played against Queensburgh Boys and Queensburgh Girls, before heading inland to Treverton College and looping up to Ermelo, via Hluhluwe game reserve.
The tour was a great success on several fronts:
- Sporting - All sides won several matches and demonstrated some excellent netball and rugby. The boys played six matches and, after losing the early matches to Langa and Paarl Boys, went on to secure four victories, with notable performances against Bredarsdorp and Ermelo. The netball A and B sides each won three out of their six fixtures, with notable performances for the A team against Treverton and the B team against Bredarsdorp.
- Billeting – The pupils received a warm welcome and excellent hosting from the families at Paarl, Worcester and Bredarsdorp, and in the boarding houses at Treverton and Ermelo. Although this is often one of the most nerve wracking elements of the tour, the pupils overcame their initial trepidation, embraced the opportunities fully and loved the experience.
- Giving something back – Prior to leaving for the trip, KES pupils had been fundraising for specific schools in South Africa and raised an incredible £3500. In addition it was with much pride and pleasure that the rugby team were able to present to their hosts a set of new rugby boots, and the girls two sets of new netball trainers, prior to their matches against the Langa development sides. Whilst this was an early highlight for many on the tour, it was the second charitable donation which will stick most vividly in our minds. In the small KwaZulu Natal town of Howick, we visited the underprivileged Nogqaza Primary School to see what our funds had bought for the School and to see the difference it would make. The donation provided a huge amount of equipment for Nogqaza Primary School, but it was the ability to double their cooking capacity and support their feeding programme for the 1000 pupils in the school that was most gratifying.
- Cultural - Thanks to the vibrant range of culture and heritage that South Africa has to offer, from Robben Island and Table Mountain in Cape Town through to game drives in Hluhluwe and the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains, the tour party enjoyed a diverse range of experiences and environments.
- Individual development – There is no doubt that the tour will have a profound influence on all the pupils who took part. It is ourhope and expectation that these pupils will thrive from their experiences and put them to good use both on and off the sports field in the coming years.
Many thanks to the following parents and local companies for their generous sponsorship of the tour: Bronwen Shepherd, Cobb Farr, Gatorade, Lingarn Performance Consultants and Rygor.
Head of Rugby - John Tidball