New Zealand Rugby Union

The first week of the holidays saw a team of Year 11 and 12 students take off to New Zealand to represent Farrer in Rugby Union. (Highlights reel on Farrer Instagram here)

They toured the South Island, moving from Christchurch to Queenstown and playing a game in both. The tour was off to a shaky start, with some serious injuries to key players before leaving the country. Despite this, the boys did not let the "tour curse" get the best of them.

We touched down in Christchurch late at night, landing safely regardless of Darcy Hannaford's critiques on the pilot's flying. The first day was an easy start with a tour of the Christchurch Crusaders facilities and a training session. The boys learned a valuable lesson about teamwork, culture and the importance of success starting off the field. Grant’s wise words continued to ring out; “Do the 1%ers and pick the best people not the best players.”

The days followed with touring Christchurch and Adrenaline Forest, a trip to the art gallery, and some incredible night meals. Christchurch’s beauty wasn’t lost on the students, and they noticed how clean and well-kept the city is while learning a little about its history and culture. The first game in Christchurch was against Burnside High School, a large school (over 2000 students) that is working on building a Rugby Union program.

The boys put on a dominating performance and won the game 48 - 7. Some highlights were from senior boys Lachlan Clydsdale and Will Crompton, as well as the cannonball himself, Stirling “Spencer” Gallagher. The boys enjoyed the BBQ afterwards and made some fast friends with their Kiwi brothers at Burnside.

We then travelled the 6 hours to Queenstown, stopping to admire Lake Tekapo along the way. The New Zealand countryside was something to behold, and even though the boys were great travel companions, we were all happy to get a break from each other off the bus.

Queenstown did not disappoint, with some unreal accommodation, fantastic views of the mountains, and an incredibly impressive city. Our second game came up quickly, and the boys faced Cromwell Football Club. Seeing the Cromwell boys warm up, it was clear that this match was going to be tough right from the start.

Farrer started strong with a charge-down try from VC Darcy Hannaford, and some speed and determination from Angus Marshall, Max Fernance and Ned Jordison, all resulting in a try. The Cromwell boys weren't done, scoring on half time setting a fire in their bellies. The second half was hotly contested, and the lead shifted a few times, with the score being Farrer 31 - CFC 28 late in the second half of the match. In the last 10 minutes of play, we saw some great rugby from both sides, with Cromwell sneaking a try in the final minutes to win the match, 31 - CFC 35.

Impressive effort from both teams to put on such a great display, special mentions to Corben Shepherd, Alex Hajas and Oliver Jordison, who played their hearts out to rise to the level of the competition.

Cromwell then hosted an afternoon of story sharing and memory making. Cromwell awarded man of the match to Stirling (Spencer) Gallagher, making it two from two for the winger-turned-centre. With Max ‘Sheep’ Fernance getting a nod as a formidable forward, going home with some great NZ rugby merchandise.

The final day of the tour saw the boys battered and bruised, with plenty of new bruises and injuries to nurse, but still keen to explore Queenstown. The luge and boat rides were a highlight of the week, and the Queenstown haunted house attraction was for those who dared.

The whole week was a raging success, and the boys went home with plenty of memories, photos, and stories of their time. The boys conducted themselves well and represented Farrer with pride and grace. A big thank you to the boys for making the tour so special, especially Andrew Harris, our full-time waterboy due to a serious ACL injury just before the tour started.

These tours don't go ahead without huge efforts from many people involved, so thank you to the students’ parents for helping provide them with this opportunity, especially those who came over to support the matches and take photos, in particular Dee McCumstie.

Thank you to the team at Haka Sports Tours for the organisation, especially to our guide Marek for his knowledge and patience with the boys.

Thank you to Mr. Rory Marshman for coaching and leading the team and to Mr. Clint Gallagher for helping with the excursion. They both seemed to enjoy their time overseas immensely.

Most importantly, thank you to Mrs Julie Matthews, without whom the tour would not have gone ahead at all. It is hard to explain the level of work that goes into events unless you actually see it. The work Julie completed was remarkable, and the whole team, parents, and staff involved are incredibly grateful for your time.

~ Mr Gareth Garnsey
- Dee McCumstie

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