Cyfarthfa – St. George’s: The Collision of Two Rugby Worlds

Post game bonding

On October 24th, Cyfarthfa High School from Wales visited St. George’s School for an exhibition rugby match.

Cyfarthfa is a school from the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough in Wales and is about an hour and a half outside of Cardiff. For many students, this was their first time outside the west end of Europe so “this was a big experience,” as quoted by Cyfarthfa’s Head Coach. He added, “This is an opportunity for the lads to take in how different cultures interact and to realize that the boys in Canada and back in Wales are the same’”.

The match was an opportunity for the senior students to showcase their talents, as Senior Rugby Tour spots to Australia-New Zealand were up for grabs.

The team St. George’s put forth consisted of U-16 players spanning from grades 10-12. The Saints team had only six practices to prepare for the test and there was a nervous anticipation surrounding the team: a handful of players had gone on junior rugby tour to Wales 8 months prior to this match with Mr. Jamieson and Mr. Hillis. Having participated in a dominant loss to a Welsh valley team on tour, there was an uncertainty if the Canadian boys could compete in the match. Those worries were soon put to rest.

The match kicked off in a fury with both sides trading bone-crushing hits. It was Connor Jaques (Grade 11) from St. George’s who scored the opening try after a 40 meter run. Then there was 15 minutes of the Welsh offensive flare clashing against the gritty Saints defense, eventually resulting in Cyfarthfa’s own first try to tie the match at seven apiece. Saints’ inside center Gareth Jones (grade 12) made a long break before dishing a beautiful offload to hard charging lock Noah King (grade 11) to help Saints take the lead. The halftime whistle blew with Jack Scher (grade 11) adding 3 more points on the scoreboard for Saints with a penalty goal. The score was 15-7.

The Welsh had a very strong start to the second half. They came out with a passion and pushed the defense to the breaking point; eventually scoring two tries giving themselves the lead 19-15 with 15 minutes to go. The Saints boys, however, rose up to the occasion attacking the Welsh defense in frenzy. The boys ran hard at their opponents for 10 minutes before substitute Spencer Cooper (grade 12) drove over the line, swatting Welsh players away like flies. From that moment onwards it was clear that Saints was not going to lose the match. Saints would add a fourth try with replacement winger Hans Senger (grade 10) bursting through the line and scoring under the posts. It was a convincing win for the boys.

St. George’s finished the match victorious with a 29-19 win. For the boys pushing for a Senior Rugby Tour spot, it gave the coaches a lot to think about. The grade 10’s also performed very well during the second half holding down the fort on defense after Cyfarthfa ran in their two tries. It was a good pre-season preparation for them. Overall everyone was proud of the efforts displayed in the match and looks forward to their respective seasons of Saints rugby.