Following a successful domestic season, the ISRFC Lambs headed out to Zimbabwe for their end of season tour.
The first game was against Mbare Academy who the Lambs made links with when they came out in 2011, many of the boys are orphans and have had a difficult life so far and rugby is an outlet for them and a way of helping them develop skills for life as well as rugby – their motto being ‘No Discipline, No Future’.
A show of great attacking ability allowed the Lambs to run out 76 – 0 winners, probably not a fair reflection on the ability of the Mbare Academy players but their disorganised approach to play left the Lambs exactly what they wanted – broken field situations.
The next day was the second of the four fixtures, with four games in seven days the effective use of the whole squad was going to be important. 14 changes were made to the side to face Harare Lions (Prince Edwards School) and a large crowd assembled. A tough game against a strong side with a very good 16th man being the crowd, meant the game was neck and neck for long periods. However the high intensity approach to the game which the Lambs took meant the opposition eventually tired and some late scores allowed the Lambs to run away with victory, 26 - 6.
After a day of rest between games, game three saw the Lambs take on the Goshawks, a select team made up of ‘possible’ U19 players for Craven week and World cup qualifiers. The game started off as a tight encounter, the score at 12 a-piece after 25 minutes. However, some late first half tries gave the Lambs momentum and took them into half time 31 – 15 up. It was then a second half showing of superb attacking rugby that led to an 81 – 15 victory, 50 unanswered points in the second half.
Another day off allowed the boys to take in some local sights, safari and a visit to the residency of the British Ambassador for Zimbabwe. The final day started off with a TAG Rugby session with the official Gilbert Rugby charity, the Tag Rugby Trust in Zimbabwe, where the boys helped take TAG sessions and joined in with children who had been brought in by bus from different High Density Areas around Harare. The TAG Rugby Trust also spoke to the boys about opportunities for those looking to take gap years to travel and coach TAG in and around Africa. After this session the Lambs prepared to play Zimbabwe Presidents XV, the Zimbabwe U19 side, which will travel to Craven Week later in the season. In a tightly fought contest the score was 0 – 0 at half time before Zimbabwe U19s raced to a 13 – 5 lead in the second half. However, led by the captain Miles Moorhouse (Clifton College), who scored the second of three tries before Will Bailey (Clayesmore) scored the winning try with only 5 minutes to go, the Lambs stuck out for a famous 17 – 13 victory and their second tour whitewash in two years.
for a selection of photos from the 2014 ISRFC Lambs season and tour.
On the whole season, National Director Alex Laybourne followed up with a final thank you to the players and parents... "The whole season has been a huge success and this is down to a committed and talented set of players who have been supported completely by their parents, not just now but over the last 18 years. We hope the boys continue to develop and play rugby at a high level, repaying the investment their parents, schoolmasters and many others have put into their rugby development to this point.”