Day 9 – Table Mountain & Camps Bay II

August 23, 2008

Better weather greeted us this morning so we were able to use to the cable cars to finally to the top of table mountain. A rotating Visa sponsored cable car lifted us to the top of this amazing land formation! The Views were breathtaking and hard to justify with words so we’ll give you a taste of what we saw……

After our descent we made our way to the beach in Camps Bay for our second session of beach training. Admitidly legs were a bit wearier than our first training session so after a few games of tag perfecting our loops and switches (Tony wanted us looking like a Super 14 oufit) we headed for the water! The water was much calmer than the first  day so we were able to stand in the water without the current tearing you out to sea!

Tonight was the final night of the U18s head coachs stay. Tony Lane decided that a week in Kerry was much better than another week south of the equator so he packed his bags and fecked off!!

A fine handed to the U18s for a rowdy night out on the town celebrating the leaving cert results of 7 players the prior thursday was duly paid as all money was to be put to a good cause. Roughly 3000rand (€300) was donated to the Woodberry Woodpeckers Kids Orphanage we visited during the township tour.

Tour Song

August 23, 2008

By now it has been well established that the tour song is Wonderwall by Oasis

Closely followed by The Wild Rover

And a special word must go out to the melodic Barry O’Sullivan for his many wonderful renditions of “Influence”.If ya see him back home ask him for a blast of it!!!

Day 8 – Aquaruim & Tri-Nations Game

August 23, 2008

Day 8 was a day that all of us had been looking forward since this tour was confirmed. The day we went our newly adopted home (SA) play the might of the All-Blacks, one of the highlights of this years Tri-Nations, the World Cup Winners playing the famous men of the Haka.

It had been organised that we would all get the clable car up to top of Table Mountain today but strongs stopped that plan however a brave team led by Eamonn Fleming had already left  to scale the mountain by foot before the news was broke about the winds.For those who decided to not climb table mountain it was off to the Two Oceans Aquarium on the waterfront instead. one of the many interesting facts learned was as follows………

After collecting the straggling climbers it was home to the Cullinan Hotel to join the police guarded escort with the SA team bus to the Newlands Stadium. However after about 30 seconds we soon lost the convoy because of traffic and hence got stuck in traffic! All was not lost we got to the stadium on time and entered the terrace end where the third New Zealand try was scored!

Despite our adpoted team losing we were in great spirits chanting Munster at the All Black fans in anticipation of the Munster New Zealand game at the new Thomond Park in November!

Blog Update

August 23, 2008

Hi to all our readers. Unfortunatley, we have been unable to access sufficent technological components to allow us to capture the moment. We intend to retrospectively update the blog on our return. 

Blog Squad

Day 7-Township Tour

August 15, 2008

On the morning of day 7 we were greeted at the hotel by our  tour guide and our township guide for the day. We departed for the townships at 9, arriving first at the Langa area. As soon as we exited the bus we were greeted with the sight of rows of sheep’s heads, awaiting their fiery fate. Accompanied by our guide, a native of the townships, we walked from rich, to richer, and finally to the poorest area of the Langa township. Our township tour ended with an eye-opening tour of the project headed by Rosie Mashala, which consisted of hospice care for HIV and AIDS sufferers, a day care centre for local children, and an orphanage for children who may have lost their parents to AIDS or been abandoned. Despite the circumstances, it was amazing to see all of the children so bright and happy and welcoming. We walked through the buildings, some of which were funded by the Irish organisation Woodberry Woodpeckers, and played with the children. The tour ended with a plea from Rosie Mashala, also known as “Mama Afrika”, for us to provide whatever financial aid we could to help her and her efforts.

Day 6-Second Match vs. Excelsior High School-Under 18s

August 15, 2008

Excelsior High School 12-0 Bandon

 

This match started at an explosive pace and the collisions were bone-crunching, particularly the tackling of Excelsior High School. Unlike in their first game against De Kuilen High School, however, Bandon did not concede an early score as a result of a last minute tackle by Sean O’Riordan at fullback. Excelsior, however, attacked from everywhere and threw the ball around with abandon. It took hard tackling by centres Kevin Brophy and Harry Fleming to keep their line intact. It was inevitable, however, due to their level of support play and offloading, that Excelsior would score and they eventually scored on the short side from quick interchange between backs and forwards giving Bandon’s fullback no chance in a two on one attacking move. The try was unconverted, but from the resultant kickoff, Excelsior regained possession and attacked from deep within their own 22. Bandon were lucky to survive a follow-up try due to a forward pass with the line at their mercy. A good break in midfield and intelligent kick ahead by Harry Fleming brought play to the Excelsior line but Bandon could not retain possession. Rather than take a penalty chance in front of the Excelsior posts, Bandon chose to kick for touch but lost the resultant lineout and from their own goal line Excelsior ran the ball the length of the pitch for their winger to score a converted try under the posts. The score was worthy of a larger audience than watched this match. Bandon dominated the scrums and hit the rucks as if their lives depended on it. As in the under 16s game, this was a Bandon side that played with a far greater intensity than previously and matched Excelsior in commitment. Half-time score: Excelsior 12-nil Bandon.

At the restart, Bandon tried by failed to get on the scoreboard but Excelsior’s first-time tackling was textbook stuff and Bandon were lucky not to shift a third try from an astute kick ahead from Excelsior’s number 15. Mark O’Driscoll at scrumhalf and Mike Murphy at number 8(who was playing against a Springbok Under 18), made telling individual breaks but the support players were just too slow arriving at the breakdown to allow the move to continue. Lineout ball to Robert Wilmot was Bandon’s best option in the setpiece and although they continued to press hard right to the end, they could just not get that final pass away due to the absence of support to score the try their substantially improved performance deserved. If, however, like the under 16s, they can take on board the Southern Hemisphere running and support play, they will become a very difficult side to beat. The second half remained scoreless, and at the after-match braii, the Excelsior coach, who had watched Bandon in their previous match against De Kuilen, paid them the ultimate compliment by stating that he believed this side was made up of 15 different players from the team that had been beaten comprehensively by De Kuilen. Excelsior fielded no white players and 2 of their side were Springbok youths.

Day 6-Second Match vs. Excelsior High School-Under 16s

August 15, 2008

Excelsior 12-10 Bandon

 

In windy and cloudy conditions in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town, Bandon under 16s played their second match in their Southern Hemisphere tour against coloured opponents Excelsior High School. Bandon played with the wind in the first half but were immediately on the back foot. The coaching session that they received by ex-Connaught coach Stefan Nel at Stellenbosch University the previous day had obvious benefits in that Bandon immediately closed down the space which they had  afforded their opposition in the previous game. As a result, Bandon established an early foothold in the Excelsior 22. Jack Robinson broke well at midfield but lacked support to carry on the move. Bandon eventually regained possession and Dáire Healy scored their first try from a close in drive which was unconverted.

Bandon resumed pressure from the kick-off and scored a second try via Sam Hunter following good support play by Stephan Murphy. Bandon’s halfbacks, Cathal Crowley at scrumhalf and Alistair White at flyhalf, spread the play well in the middle of the pitch but Bandon were unable to score again in the first half. Excelsior upped their game at the end of the half and Bandon suffered a number of scares before eventually getting to half time 10-nil up.

PLaying against the wind in the second half, Bandon were immediately put under pressure but with the line at their mercy Excelsior knocked on. Good covering tackling by the backs saved another certain score but eventually Excelsior’s scrumhalf scored an unconverted try leaving the score at 10-5 to Bandon. From the resultant restart, Bandon were again put under further pressure but eventually broke into the Excelsior half but due to lack of support the move broke down. The game ebbed and flowed between both 22’s but due to slick Excelsior handling, Bandon’s defence was constantly under pressure. In the last five minutes of the game a move in the Bandon midfield broke down and as a result of a cruel bounce Exclesior scored a converted try under the posts.

From the resultant kick-off Bandon attacked with abandon and were awarded a penalty on the Excelsior 22. A difficult kick into the wind by Alistair White just drifted wide, after which the referee blew the final whistle.

This was a much improved performance from the under 16s from their previous game and hopes are high for a win in the final match of the tour against Stellenbosch High School. If Bandon can continue to change their style of play to the South African running and support type of game(which is the way rugby will be played in the future), they will surely get the win they deserve and take the experience they have gained in the ELVs(Experimental Law Variations) into the new season.

It must be remembered that Bandon played no competitive rugby since last April whereas in the Southern Hemisphere they are mid-season.

Day 5 – Stellenbosch Training Session

August 13, 2008

Don’t ask me how but all 58 shattered members of the touring party managed to get on the bus for quarter past 8 this morning(well half 8 – the bus driver was late)! The reason was the much anticipated training session at Stellenbosch University with members of the Westren Province setup!

A fantstic coach greeted us,  the mad and great Dawid! As sharp as a thistle and as mad as hatter, put us through our paces focusing on our organisation and attacking skills!  Dawid even gave us an example of his famous goosestep for getting around players (it involved him throwing his belly forward and letting his body catch up -he’s half Turkish so he was a natural!).

Johan Muller a fromer Stormer, Natal Shark, Northhampton and Westen Province man (a beast of a man) then put us to a test.  A circuit involving punch bags, tractor tyres, tackle bags and a rest that meant you could only slow down really showed us what we were made of!! Much was learned and hopefully will be put into use on Thursday against Excelsior High School.

Andy Collins (the one the only u18 laundry master) also agreed to donate tyres to keep up the good work at home!!

Day 4 – Robben Island Visit and Springbok Training Session

August 13, 2008

Day 4 began today with a visit to the infamous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1964 to the 11th February 1990.  A 45 minute ferry ride which included some whale spotting (a Southern Right whale according to our marine biologist Tony Lane!) ended on Robben Island with us meeting out tour guide who himself was imprisoned for being a member of the African National Congress. To our delight we managed to find an Irish Town in the middle of this barren island (unfortunatetly it didnt have an irish bar).

After a look at Nelson Mandela’s isolation cell, it was concluded by our legal experts that it’s easier to do the time in Robben Island than Cork Prison (we asked Nelson that himself). Our security  team nearly ended up in a ball and chain there after running out with 2,500 from a restaurant (Rand too not Euro)!

The hightlight of the day came in the afternoon when we went ot see our hotel compatriots the Sprinboks in action at an open training session. The sound of ravng mad children greeted us as we left the bus and made our way to the stand. Honestly they are bonkers, out of their trees!!  They were hopping, running, jumping, leaping, kicking, screaming, tossing at the sight of their world cup heroes! None of the Bandon players could keep up the same level of enthusiasm for longer than 20 minutes if tested.

A few of the bandon players including Jerry Crowley, Jonathan Taaffe, Dermot Robinson and Scott Kingston were asked for their autographs because the South African supporters believed us to be a professional outfit with all our flashy gear!!! 

As awlays our day ended with a steak in a steak house on the waterfront!!

Paul Taaffe

Day 3-Kangaroo Court and matches

August 11, 2008

Day 3 began with a “Kangaroo Court” at 11 o’clock, with defendants such as Paudie McSweeney and Liam Dempsey being tried for crimes such as “Cohorting with undesirables” and “Excessive consumption of chicken burgers, causing a crisis in world trade”. Punishments in included 10 and a bit press-ups for Tony “I can’t count” Lane, and a chicken dance for chicken-lover Liam Dempsey. The court was chaired by Gary McCormick, with Eamon Fleming acting as defence solicitor. Once Kangaroo Court had finished, everyone went to their rooms and prepared for their first match.


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