The Independent Schools RFC ‘LAMBS’ enjoyed another successful tour on and off the field, this year to Argentina. After four games, including one against Uruguay U19s, they came away with two wins and two loses, alongside memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
The first game was just two days after landing in Argentina, and saw the LAMBS go toe to toe with a Uruguay side preparing for the Junior World Championship in Zimbabwe. A hard fought game was lost in a game where the final scoreline did not fully tell the story – Uruguay’s experience of the conditions allowing them to add a number points in the last 10 minutes to give a flattering score line. A good performance to start the tour, albeit not the result desired.
The single day between games 1 and 2 allowed the players to enjoy a tour of the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, learning more about the history and culture of the city. A short training session also allowed the 10 new players coming into the starting side to gain some shape ahead of playing Buenos Aires Select.
The Provincial side, Buenos Aires XV, were in the middle of their championship, and it was also a game that allowed Argentina to look at players coming into their full program. The two day turnaround was a test of the LAMBS physical and mental capabilities, and as with Uruguay they started the game well – with the middle patch of the game seeing them play a lot of their best rugby of the game. Another loss was disappointing, but not disastrous, and indeed was evidence of the strength of South American rugby in the current day.
The following day saw disappointing news as Argentina pulled out of the fixture, as their training camp finished early. The team preparing for the Junior World Cup in England were replaced with Buenos Aires biggest club, La Plata, but a day later in the itinerary. This allowed the boys to experience one of Argentina’s Gaucho Ranches, where the players were able to ride horses, experience a cultural show and some tango, enjoy a traditional Argentinean barbecue and see more about Argentina’s history. The extra day also allowed some bodies to rest in preparation for another tough fixture.
Game three saw a massive improvement in performance once again, a tradition of LAMBS tours as the team get better and better as they go on. A 59 – 7 win and an excellent performance showed what the LAMBS are capable of doing. La Plata, the biggest club in the Buenos Aires Provence, put up a tough fight, and as with all the South American sides brought a massive physical battle to the Independent Schools RFC. It was, however, the commitment to the ‘Fast and Free’ approach that allowed them to pull away in the game.
The change in the itinerary saw a quick turnaround for game four, this time against Daom RFC, the Southern Buenos Aires provincial champions. Daom RFC was clearly a club built of success by its people, passionate, hard-working and friendly, and the LAMBS could not have been welcomed in a better way to a club based in the less affluent side of Buenos Aires. A second win of tour followed, 104 – 7, and allowed the team to finish on a high. The post match function was also something for the players to savour, superbly hosted by the opposition, and at the end they left most of their kit for the club to use. The hospitality showed the values and ethos of rugby in South America in its best light, and supported the LAMBS approach in touring to countries where the players can experience and share those things at their very best.
At the end of the tour George Hitchcock (Felsted) was voted Players’ Player of the tour, with Sam Hudson (St Peter’s, York) voted Coaches Player of the tour.
Argentina was a fantastic experience for the LAMBS 2016 players, both on and off the field, and another successful tour for the organisation in its 10th year. They return with one more domestic game on Saturday 16th April vs. Worcester Warriors at Loughborough University.
ISRFC Lambs Tour Results:
Sunday 27th March – Lost 12-55 v Uruguay XV
Tuesday 29th March – Lost 7-52 v Buenos Aires Select XV
Friday 1st April – Won 59-7 v La Plata RFC U19
Sunday 3rd April – Won 104-7 v Daom RFC