Throughout the weekend the U19, U11 and U9 teams from BISS Puxi had the pleasure of participating in exhibition matches between the rounds of the men’s and women’s tournaments.
On the Saturday, 29 boys from BISS Puxi Lions played against 16 of their counterparts from BISS Pudong in a landmark event for Shanghai rugby: the first school’s 15 a-side game to ever be contested. In keeping with the club spirit the BISS Puxi Lions coaches are working towards, the three injured members of the squad also travelled with the team and played their part by supplying water, the kicking tee and taking photographs.
The fixture was split into thirds, each separated by an hour of international rugby. So it was that 2 columns of proud rugby players jogged onto the field knowing that Japan and Australia would be battling it out on the very same turf just 20 minutes later.
Nerves and inexperience contributed to a scrappy first third that finished 0-0, with BISS Pudong having the best of the set pieces, but with BISS Puxi dominating territory. The second third was much more settled, with the Lions finding the flow and aggression in both the forwards and the backs. A big drive from lock Asker Van Aalderen, quickly followed by 2 more forward plays created some space in midfield, which was immediately exploited by Nick Rice who gained 20 metres before off-loading to Ryan Grant, who in turn popped the ball to Thomas Manteo for the first ever try BISS Lions have scored in a 15 a-side game of rugby.
With 5 points on the board their confidence was fully restored with the ball moving well through the hands and some huge contacts being made, not least by wing Lasse Aamodt.
In the final third, superior numbers and increased confidence allowed the Lions to dominate in all areas, eventually gaining another 17 points, with number 8 Kevin Blatt seeing his tireless efforts rewarded with a great try.
After the fixture was complete the boys were honoured to have Justin Marshall (the most capped All Black scrum half of all time) talk to them and congratulate them on their performance.
On the Sunday it was the turn of the juniors, who are the future of the BISS Lions and indeed world rugby. For some it was their first real taste of competitive rugby and their parents made plenty of noise from the stands. The U9 team played 3 games and were able to continue their unbeaten record from last year with Carlos Braun leading the scoring.
The U11 team had two fixtures and displayed great promise for the coming years. Louis Williamson and Samuel Stephenson were just two of the players that stood out.
As the senior season draws to a close it will soon be the turn of the U9 and U11 teams to take centre stage and so, with that in mind, we will be hosting a junior rugby festival on Saturday 30 November from 10am-12pm. During the 2 hours the U19 team will put the juniors through their paces, while the parents can tuck into a BBQ from the side lines. More details regarding this event will follow shortly.
A massive well done to all the players - you did BISS Puxi very proud.