2 May 2017 – The Saint Andrew’s under-15 rugby team came away from the Independent Schools Rugby Festival in Grahamstown without a win, but progress, both on and off the field, was made and the warm spirit of inter-schools’ competition shared during their tour over the long weekend.
On the winning and losing sides in the same game
Saints came closest to a win in their clash with Uplands College, going down 17-19, but the most important part of that story was not the result but the composition of the two teams. Uplands had suffered numerous injuries in the lead-up to the contest, so Saint Andrew’s lent them five players for the match, thus ensuring it could take place. While some Saints’ boys lost on the scoreboard, others won. Ultimately, though, it was the relationship of the schools and the spirit of rugby that triumphed.
In their final match, Saint Andrew’s took on Woodridge College, the alma mater of Saints’ coach Craig Allwright. At half-time, Saints led 13-12, but Woodridge fought back in the second half to come away with a 27-13 win.
On day one of the Festival, Saints had played three shorter games, losing 0-19 to Graeme College, 0-42 to Saint Andrew’s College and 14-19 to Kingswood.
Tim Frederix takes the game to Saint Andrew’s College at the Independent Schools Rugby Festival (Photo: Denwin van Turha)
Commenting on the Festival, coach Craig Allwright said: “Ending off with Woodridge was great because I am an old boy, and the Woodridge was great. They supported our boys throughout the Festival. They cheered for us. We cheered for them. That was really a positive.
“They wanted another game”
“Helping Uplands was also great for the boys. As soon as we asked who would like to play, five of them immediately put their hands up and it was five that hadn’t even benched a game yet. They wanted another game.
“I take my flyhalf, for example. He had a poor game the previous day. He said ‘sir, I want to go fix what I did yesterday. If it means helping them, I want to fix it. That’s what the Festival is about. It’s about growing and developing.”
A happy team, the Saints’ under-15 side mugs for the camera (PhotoL Denwin van Turha)
Looking back on the Festival, Allwright said: “It’s about having fun. It’s about being with your friends. We shared a hostel with the Saint Alban’s guys. That’s one of our traditional derby rivals. It was great. The staff came to us and shared advice. Everyone tried helping each other throughout the Festival.
“In 1988, when the Festival started, Saints, Saint Alban’s and Woodridge were all part of the core group that started it. It was started as a pre-season event to develop rugby and it’s still that. I hope that it stays that way.”