This week, the Under 9 and Under 11 Primary rugby squads had their first home fixtures of the year against the Japanese Seahorses team from Shanghai.
Having played them regularly throughout the season, the Seahorses were a well known opposition, and both teams knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Being played at school, the children has plenty of parental support, with some parents even bringing in custom made signs to cheer on the teams!
Both the Under 9s and Under 11s had started using their A / BB / CC / DD system on the field, which enabled the team to use as much of the space on the field as they could. With the cold and rainy conditions at school on Saturday, the ball was slippy and it was difficult for the Under 9s to get the ball out past “B” (the first receiver) and so found it difficult to move the ball into space. Despite this, the children played really well throughout and continued running, tackling and passing all morning long, however came unstuck in the end, with the final score being WAIS 1-3 Seahorses.
In the U11s match, the team was confident as they had beaten the Seahorses the previous week in Shanghai. Mr. Wood talked about the importance of coming up together as a defensive line, making tackles, and supporting team mates with the ball. With the game played over three, ten-minute periods of play, there was end to end action, with the WAIS players bigger ball carriers causing damage and running through for tries, with the returning J. Tao, aka “Rhino” scoring four tries, T. Liu scoring two, K. Martin also scoring two, and T. Cui getting on the scoresheet as well.
The Seahorses are very experienced at passing the ball effectively along the line and creating space, even though in general their players are smaller, and some weak tackling from the WAIS boys enable them to score some tries – this is something the WAIS boys will be working on over the coming weeks as they head towards the finals day in Shanghai on 23rd March.
Following the conclusion of the first match, in true rugby style, the two groups of players from WAIS and the Seahorses combined into four mixed teams, and played each other. Despite the language barrier, with our team speaking English or Chinese and the Seahorses speaking Japanese, the teams successfully came together and played some fantastic rugby, with J. Jing and K. Martin scoring some memorable team tries. The WAIS boys were even seen at pitchside between games kicking footballs around with members of the Seahorses, which highlighted a real camaraderie between the two teams.
After the matches had finished, both teams, along with parents and coaches, had a delicious barbecue to fill up some very hungry tummies after a hard morning of rugby.
I would like to thank all the parents for coming along and braving the cold weather to support your children, as this really makes a huge difference to their confidence and desire to play sport.