Pictured above: Some images from the tour including the whole team and the beach session at Sentosa Island.
The tour began with an early start: the boys finally boarding the plane south at around 2am arriving in Singapore at 7am, very tired and restless from the flight.
Our first game was that day so the boys had a quick breakfast and went straight to their rooms for two hours quality sleep. A little more awake, they went on their first hill run of Fort Canning, to acclimatise to the wet, humid conditions. After that it was on the bus to Tanglin Trust Sport Complex for the first match of the tour.
As we arrived the rain began to pour down and the ground quickly turned into a very heavy surface, a first for our boys who are used to playing on a dry fast track. Opening the game with the first try was Arne Janssen running on hard to the ball from a lovely pass from Ryan Grant. The heavy conditions slowed both teams down and it came down to a back and forth slog, with the BISS Lions leading twice in the game. With 5 minutes to go, the BISS Lions were one point up and were looking to run the ball wide and try to get over the line again, one crucial mistake was not to take a penalty in front of the posts with 3 mins to go.
The Lions lost possession in the final minute and Tanglin took advantage of the turn over scoring a last minute try and converting to take the win. Final score 12-18.
A bitterly disappointing result, however the boys proved to be a force to be reckoned with, and gained the respect of the largest Rugby School in Asia. Tanglin hosted us after the game where we had a shared dinner back at their campus and a short prize giving where the boys caught up after the game and got a chance to meet and share expat stories with each other.
On Saturday Mr Thorley the Physical trainer for the team lead yet another more challenging hill run route for the boys to ensure we all kept fit and could deal with the warmer more humid climate. The boys then participated in a deep stretching challenge to get rid of any niggly knocks picked up in the first game.
That afternoon was dedicated to study, until later in the day we headed to a hawker area for dinner to experience some of Singapore’s famous edible delights. In the evening the boys opted for study or if study was complete took advantage of the theatre across the road from the hotel.
Sunday we planned and completed a beach session at Sentosa Island, a manmade beach area in Singapore, which included a mini four on four touch rugby tournament, emphasising passing skills and setting up plays, and once again really pushing them aerobically before Monday’s fixture against United World College East Campus.
Having had two days to acclimatise and two nights of restful sleep did the tour party a world of good which was evident as the boys geared up for the final game of the BISS Lions’ Season.
Monday morning was once again dedicated to study time before a short run, then some game preparation time before boarding the bus to UWC East Campus. The boys were very excited as this game was to be played on a ground on the roof top of a 3 story building, an impressive architectural design. The facilities at UWC were second to none and an air of professionalism swept through the team as they got off the bus in the traditional white shirts and black ties. The team really got the feel and real life experience that a professional athlete in the Rugby world experiences.
After the warm up, it was decided early in the short discussion before the game that the key word for this game was ‘’Merciless”. And what a Merciless display the boys put on for the season’s closer: 116 points to nil against an experienced Singapore 15 a-side team. Proud is not a big enough word to describe the pure elation Mr Thorley and myself experienced. To watch all of the hard work and dedication pay off in one single final match was truly inspiring. Defence impenetrable, attack precise, fast and accurate. As a team the boys were in the flow, really enjoying every moment on the field. Mr Smith the boys’ coach from the previous year visited and watched amazed, observing the true potential first hand of this band of talented BISS Lions in full flight.
The tour was a great experience for the boys and an experience many will take with them into life and their future Rugby experiences. I would like to thank Mr Foyle for his support of the team throughout the year. Mr Thorley for his relentless physical conditioning and the boys for their can-do spirit and their intelligent and thoughtful approach to the season of games this year. Finally a huge thanks to the Parents who have supported us all year and encouraged their sons to be involved in the BISS Lions Rugby Movement. Merry Christmas and safe holidays to you all.