The St Peter’s College first XV has returned from North America but did not get long to rest at the weekend.
The team played Southland Boys’ High School the day after arriving back in the country – and won.
They had returned from a two-week rugby tour to the United States and Canada.
Team member and St Peter’s College head boy Samuel Watkins said the team landed at Dunedin Airport at 9.35am last Saturday, but did not return to Gore until 5pm because the Milton-Balclutha highway was closed due to flooding.
Captain Jake Lawlor said the flood delays kept the team at the airport for about seven hours.
Lawlor said the team were due to play Southland Boys’ High School (SBHS) in Invercargill on the Saturday they flew in.
In the previous game the teams played together SBHS won 24-0.
“About halfway through the trip we became alerted to the fact that we had to reschedule a game for the Saturday .. it was not physically possible for us to make a Saturday game .. which we planned to hopefully reschedule for a midweek game,” Lawlor said.
Watkins said the SBHS turned down the option of a mid-week game, saying it was unfair.
“They asked for a Saturday game,” Watkins said.
“Rugby Southland was involved and a compromise was meet for Sunday. It was suitable for both teams .. it was good to see co-operation,” he said.
“Despite us knowing it was not going to be an easy task after 14 or so hours of flying the day prior,”Lawlor said.
“I think it did really fire up the boys but we can’t really blame them .. it’s a competitive sport and they were just trying to do what was best for them.”
Lawlor explained how the team walked on to field on Sunday fired up and ready to go.
“We knew we had to come out and play.”
“Our season really depended on it. Our boys dug deep.”
The SPC team beat SBHS 22-11.
Watkins said he thought the rugby tour had really helped them gain the skills they used in the game.
“The tour really built the team culture, and we went out there with passion and played with pride,” Watkins said.
“Considering the energy levels among the team, we played well and didn’t give up.
“Perhaps this attitude was adopted against the USA teams which were very large in size and of, on average, older age,” he said.
“This tested our strength and mainly persistence as we were forced to play differently once we conceded.”
“The team culture is currently thriving, which can be attributed to our excellence, dedicated coaching and management team of Dylan Ditchfield, Hayden Byers, Fraser Given, Tony Wilkins and various other supporting parents and staff.”
‘This week SPC would play Menzies at home at 1.15pm, he said.
‘Both teams will undoubtedly rise to the occasion.”