Royal Engineers RFC Tour to Boston, United States of America 2010
Sapperrugby - Back in the USA!
The Army Corps Champions the Royal Engineers returned to the USA between Thu 6 and Tue 18 May 2010 to play two full games of rugby union and take part in the New England rugby festival in Newport Rhode Island, the tour was put together between the club and Sweet Chariot Sports Tours. Sapperrugby have strong and proud links with the United States, many players have good friendships from previous tours having toured to Denver in 2000 and 2004. The tour will be followed by over 10000 plus serving and ex Royal Engineers deployed throughout the world as we aim to update this page daily with news, player reports and training game footage.
The Royal Engineers (Heroes and Villains) flew from London Heathrow on Thu 6 May and landed in Boston in early evening, after transfering to their hotel in Newton, Friday was spent running the jet lag out before a tough game against a Boston Irish Wolfhounds select team on Saturday 8 May kicking off at 1300hrs at the Irish Cultural Centre, nr New Boston Drive.
The training happened on a couple of pitches in the local area while the local schools played baseball and school games. The team trained well in the heat and have recovered well from the jet lag. The team selection was hard with so many players making themselves available for the tour. The only player to miss out on selection was Darrell Ball who was recovering from the Army v Navy game. The team were very focused for the first game and had a pre game meal on the Friday evening.
The continued professional attitude of the players and the remainder of the tour party is pleasing to witness. The difficulties of training pitch availability was very quickly overcome and the forward and back units completed a focussed and successful session.
The subsequent team run, again in limited space, was done at just the right tempo. The squad went into Saturdays game with a relaxed but determined intent which was where we wanted to be.
Monday started after breakfast with a DVD session reviewing Saturdays game, reminding everyone how heavy the rain was in the opening period, how Vess did his 'old man' impression and buckled under a pass from Stu Butters. The lads were keen to ensure no bears were spotted coming out of the undergrowth.......many seemed to run away from something!
After the DVD review the team headed off to the local park and conducted a two hour training session under the coaching staff, the front row were back in time from their outing (more later) and were singing a song of a certain city in America...the evening had the team spoilt for choice, National league basketball playoffs, Ice hockey playoffs and Baseball as the Boston Red Sox played Toronto all occurred in the city; some of the team (Ballos, Danny and Lareth (sometimes Gareth can’t say his name properly (after 20 G & Ts!))) decided to go and watch the 'Village People' play their own style of baseball.......more later; ........below, the scoreboard at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
After training on Tuesday it was discovered that several players had mislaid their 'flash cards' and the 'villains' in the team were collecting many potential fines for the 'judge' to dish out... (Wednesday) saw a sad event prior to training as Adam Karran's 'plastic soldier' was laid to rest following the beheading (eating) of him by his owner. The burial party rehearsed at sun rise in the local park, it was to be an emotional time for all....we will remember him.
After training we replicated the baseball game at the Red Sox the previous night, the forwards took on the backs and the skill of the batters was mixed to say the 'least', some, Ves, Mr Hughes were good, others Gus and Daz were quite shocking......
The team that played on Wednesday night v NE Colleges XV at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, kick off at 1900hrs was :
Sapperrugby – 1. Lee Wagner 2.Garry Windle 3. Mark Eastley 4. Rob Taylor 5. Adam Karran 6. Neville Boyd 7. Ritchie Warmington 8. Darrell Ball (skipper) 9. Solo Baleisolomone 10. Tom Best 11. Geraint Fisher 12. Danny Cootes 13.Peceli Navacamuto 14. Junior Wailutu 15. Stu Butters 16. Rickey Reeves 17. Gus Rule 18. Nathan Young 19. Ben Hughes 20. Noxy Leqekoro 21. Ves Wessells 22.Baks Bakoso.
Every member of the team was nominated as either a 'hero' or 'villain', they had the costume of that character to wear at a nominated point,(made a great photo) each tourist also had a plastic soldier (above) and on the call ‘soldiers’ had to adopt the pose of their nominated soldier wherever they were......para troopers had of course to do the ‘Para roll’; as you can see (above) some soldiers have been in locations others haven’t!
Thursday was our only complete day off! Some of the squad went 'Whale watching' off the coast and others took the 'trolley tour' around Boston, most ended up in the Cheers bar! Some did their washing.......our club Presdient Brigadier Shaun Burley arrived via BA on Thursday evening and was be with us until we returned home on Monday evening.
Friday was a 'transfer day' to Newport RI, leaving Boston around lunchtime on our coach driven by the delightful Shaun and stopping off at Gillette stadium, home of Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots, video man and massive 'Pats' fan Jonathan Fowke had to be dragged from the 'pro shop' after an hour as his credit card could no longer sustain the pounding it was getting. On Saturday and Sunday we played at Fort Adams state park in the New England rugby festival, (16 mens and 8 womens teams) our first game was at 1000hrs on Saturday against Boston (not the Wolfhounds) and depending on the result from that we played another game late Saturday afternoon and a further game on Sunday,........
Sapperrugby laid the 'gauntlet down' on Saturday morning, the location the stunning views from Fort Adam state park. The opposition was Boston. Kicking of just after 1000hrs local on a sunny day with temperatures in the high 60s it took Gus Qasevakatini just 16 minutes to score a hat trick of tries and a further 6 minutes to score another two as the Sappers made it 33 - 0 at half time. A further 6 more tries were added in the 25 minutes each way game in the second period coming from Noxy Leqekro, Stu Butters (2), Ves Wessells, Peceli Navacamutoand Zac Vakasawaqa. The second game had the Sappers play at 1800hrs local against 'South Shore' who beat the Boston Irish Wolfhounds in their quarter final. More below.....
Game two of the festival kicking off at 1800hrs local had the Sappers playing 'South Shore' who we did not expect to meet according to 'the local population', they beat the Boston Irish Wolfhounds in their first round. The day had been hot, very hot......and seven hours since we had played Boston, such is the size of the competition rugby matches that had been played non stop on all four pitches since 0800hrs!
The Sappers found South Shore a more spirited outfit and the first ten minutes was an even contest. South Shore were not there to make the numbers up and were a physical and mobile unit. Sapper skipper Ben Hughes (Zorro) picked up a groin injury and was replaced by Noxy Laqekro who showed great movement and strength in the loose and scored two outstanding individual tries, however it was not before Army winger Gus Qasevakatini (Robin) scored his second hat trick of the day again inside 20 minutes and a fourth try after 8 minutes in the second half to take his tally to 9 tries in two games. Blistering speed and the wide areas of the touchlines on the full firm pitch on a hot sunny day were 'just the ticket' for this highly talented speedster. Rob Taylor (Wonder Woman) having a great tour had made a great pairing with first time skipper Ralph Cooke (Super Girl) and must now be the Sappers starting second row for a few years to come.
Army centres Ves Wessells and Peceli Navacamuto displayed why they are Army coach's Andy Prices chosen first pairing with great speed and vision, the running and offloads had the appreciated New England crowd cheering with support. So at just after 7pm local the referee drew the contest to a close for the day. We lost count of the number of games that had been played in this stunning location, there have been a lot and the support has been very good. A tired team headed back to the Marriot Middletown for an ice bath and pasta. A mention must be made to the 'front row union' (instructional scrummage engagement video soon) who have grafted with great passion over the last ten days, the Sappers have found a natural spot for utility back Stu Butters (Skelitor) at 15 and a new 'star' in fly half Tom Best, a young man with the talent to release the outstanding backs outside him. Sunday was to bring a stern challenge, our opposition in the final Newhaven have beaten two good teams and it would be a tough game, one that we awaited and were prepared for, more below.........................
The Royal Engineers won the New England Division 1 rugby festival knock out competition at Fort Adams state park over the weekend 15 - 16 May 2010, beating a spirited and strong Newhaven club in the final, the Sunday afternoon was slightly cooler than the Saturday, the Sappers could not play Darrell Ball as he had picked up an injury in the second game on the Saturday. Newhaven had beaten fancied opposition to get to the final and we did not take the game lightly. The opening 10 minutes showed why our opponents were in the final, physical and committed they tested the Sapper defensive line time and time but good commitment and communication kept the local team at bay. After 10 minutes Tom Best broke through to open the scoring and it was seven minutes later before Gus Qasevakatini went over, further tries by Garreth Libbey, Baks Bakoso and a second from Gus Qasevakatini gave the Sappers a comfortable lead of 31 - 0 at the interval.
The Sappers continued the pressure in the second half, Gareth Libbey crossed for his second, Peceli Navacamuto scored a great individual try before selfishly off loading a second scoring opportunity to Ricky Reeves having crossed the try line, it was left to Baks Bakoso to finish it off to make the final score 55 - 0. The outstanding team performance over the two days (180 points for and 12 against) reflects what can be achieved when you get a group of talented players together for a period of time, this game had great commitment from everyone wearing a maroon and navy shirt. So a great weekends rugby played in a stunning location came to an end, thanks to all the New England teams and the event organisers for a great festival. Court awaited.......
Mr Zorro chaired the court, assisted by prosecution Ming the Marvelous and Defence Council, Wonder Woman, several individuals including Superman, Jack Sparrow and Conan were found guilty of serious offences..