The London University College School touring team competed in a local match.
The London University College School touring team competed in a local match. Emily Bradfield

Dalby and England form footy fellowship

RUGBY UNION: Winning friends and games across the country was top priority for English players on a touring rugby team who visited Dalby this week.

The team from University College School, in London, claimed their fourth win on Australian soil against Dalby boys four tries to one on Monday night but both teams agreed the game was about more than winning.

Dalby State High School teacher Sam Weier, along with Steve Gillespie and Andrew Johnston, coached students from Dalby State High School and our Lady of the Southern Cross College.

"It was a thrown together team that was organised but the boys had only really trained once together so then to put in the performance they did was just unreal,” Weier said.

"The game was a really physical contest and ended well with all the boys enjoying themselves after the game, having a barbecue and exchanging jerseys and shorts so they could have a bit of a memory from the tour.”

Weier helped to organise the tour's stop in Dalby when his old rugby mate, Ian Thomas, now the head of rugby at UCS, expressed an interest in bringing his students out of the city while on tour.

The team is two weeks in to its three-week tour, which also acts as a pre-season warm-up before the English rugby season starts in August.

Thomas said the London boys had noticed differences to the sport in Australia.

"Our boys are used to throwing the ball around a lot more whereas we're finding these boys tend to run at walls,” he said.

For Weier, the visitors gave local boys an oppor- tunity to gain experience and a chance to showcase the region to fresh eyes.

"It was something out of the ordinary, something different and exposing our boys to the fact that there is the opportunity to travel using sport, I think that was great for them, particularly the local boys,” he said.

"Multiple boys plus the staff made it clear Dalby has been their favourite part of the trip so far just because it'd been such a different experience... so that was nice to hear.”

Gabriel Hartwill, from the London side, jumped at the opportunity to come on the Australian tour and has enjoyed the trip on and off the field.

"The socials after the rugby games, just hanging out with the opposition team ... you make friends out here you're going to be able to stay in touch with forever.”


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