My younger son plays for the best rugby team around. I’m not just saying that, they really are the best. They’re a small team (at times so small that their existence was under threat), who just happen to have some flipping good players, a great team spirit and a very motivated and enthusiastic coach.
Last season, they were gutted to be beaten in the finals of the County Cup by a team they had decisively beaten in the past, on the ‘silver try’ rule – if the teams draw, the winner is the team which scored first. This year, that won’t be happening again. It might not be a popular view in sport for primary school age children, but my son’s rugby team don’t play to take part, they don’t play for fun, they play to WIN. As their coach is forever reminding them. And he gets them motivated. He gets them hungry. They want to win.
This season (the under 11s), the journey to the County Cup is starting early. With only three training sessions under their belt, the team entered a new tournament. And they were going to win it. No question.
There were eight teams in the competition, in two groups of four. The winners of their groups would play each other in the cup final, the runners up in each group would play against each other in the plate final.
The team got off to a good start – winning their first game 4-0. A new kid has started playing for them who is, and I didn’t even think this possible, as good as their best player. He gets round the opposition effortlessly. He scored the first try. Altogether he scored eight tries in the competition, but I’m jumping ahead of myself.
My son plays on the wing and sometimes it makes him a bit miserable. Playing on the wing, you don’t always see the ball, although your team-mates should be using you. If they use their wings well, the wings can make a real difference. My son was unhappy after the first game as he had only touched the ball four times – and two of those times he shouldn’t have had it – his team-mates had passed to him after the whistle had blown (they didn’t hear it). He even had a try disallowed on the final whistle because there had been a foul or the ball had gone into touch just before he received it.
They won their next game 7-0.
It was certain they had either won the group or were the runners-up. But the coach wouldn’t hear talk of runners-up. They were going to win their next game – the toughest – and they were going to win that group.
The difference between a good team and an average team is huge. My son’s team run rings around most teams, but not the team they played in the last group game. They’ve struggled against them before. Both teams fight hard to win and both teams are determined not to let the others score. Three times it appeared that our team had scored with a scramble on the line – and three times it was disallowed by the ref. They definitely had the edge, but it was 0-0.
The other team had won both their previous games too. So who had won the group and who had come second?
Well, they’d scored 10 tries in the competition. But we’d scored 11. We were through to the cup final.
My son’s team were up against his best friend’s team from school. They’ve only played each other once before (and my son’s team won easily) – often his friend’s team go home early from competitions as they don’t even make it out of the group stages.
The game had just kicked off and my daughter, husband and I were still making our way round to the other side of the pitch to get the best view of my son on the wing, when he got the ball. And he ran. And nobody could stop him.
He scored the first try within seconds. My daughter did a cartwheel to celebrate.
And then the floodgates opened – try after try after try. Our team were 6-0 up at half-time (which is only seven minutes). Another three tries in the second half and they’d won the final 9-0.
Their first silverware of the season! 20 tries scored and not a single try conceded. County Cup, here we come!
Linking to Loud ‘n’ Proud with 3 Children and It.