The ISKL varsity rugby team prepared to face the IASAS schools with a tournament on the weekend before last. Three other schools were in attendance for the round-robin tournament. SMSS and Gombak were two local schools that didn’t have to drive very far to compete. Marlborough, however, had a bit of a trek and got off the bus ready to compete. We kicked off the tournament on Friday night with a friendly game that didn’t count towards anything. Sadly, the varsity team couldn’t quite clinch the victory, letting in a try by Marlborough to tie up the game at the very end.
The next day was much more intense. Each team would play four games; a game against each of the competitors and a 3rd and 4th place game or a championship match. After a brutal day, the final games for each team were rained out due to a thunderstorm of epic proportions. Lightning was striking every few seconds, so it wasn’t too hard for the athletic directors to call off, to the disappointment of every player. Some intense rivalries had already formed in that short day.
Back to the rugby. ISKL versed SMSS in the first game. It was well fought with the score going back and forth for the duration of the first half. After the halftime break, the ISKL Varsity team turned on the gas and started to play with a bit of spirit. A tremendous team effort led them to a convincing victory over the Malaysian team. The deciding factor had to be the forwards. SMSS lost both lineouts and scrums with startling regularity. Max Wright, the coach of the forwards, praised them on their effort given during the second half.
After less than an hour of rest, the boys strapped on their boots again to take the field. The second game went much the same as the first. ISKL faced Gombak with more satisfactory results. The coaches were not as thrilled as the scores should warrant. They gathered up the players and berated them for not going as hard. They did just enough to win. That is all fine and good with teams that weren’t a difficult challenge, but that wouldn’t suffice in the tough competition of IASAS.
Another short break and the ISKL team was back on the field and wearily warming up. For those of you that don’t know, two games of intense rugby is incredibly draining. The third game is the worst mentally. Still, the boys ran out and went through their warm-ups with some vigor in the heat of the day. The sun was out and the crowd in the stands could literally see the heat waves that filtered off of the turf field. Sweating, just from the act of warming up, the two teams jogged out onto the field. Marlborough was ready to play after the inconclusive match the previous night. With a whistle, the game started. At the half, it was all tied up with both of the teams panting. The game concluded with Marlborough ahead by just a try. They snuck one down the line and their winger scored under the bar. That was the only loss of the day.
The final games were all set up to be played. The third and fourth game was actually in motion as the foreboding clouds moved over the field. The lightning siren went off, just as light split the sky. And that was all. The coaches called the tournament of as the weather was predicted to pound the area for hours. It was still an important day that showed the ISKL boys what they needed to work on.
IASAS is fast approaching in this second season. The rugby teams jet off to Manila on the Wednesday morning of the 26th. The tournament that led up to IASAS was a great practice for the much larger tournament in the Philippines. All that is left to do is to cheer on our rugby players as they fight to bring home the gold.