The rugby players from Lurgan College will embark on a tour to Johannesburg this week for a trip of a lfietime.
A party of 25 players and four staff depart College Walk for Dublin Airport on Thursday for what will be a fantastic adventure for the pupils.
On arrival in Johannesburg the party will travel to Pretoria for three days of intensive match preparation and training before they play their first game.
In the North East of the vast country, the locals will visit Pretoria, and watch a Super XV game where the Lions will play the Sharks. Two Currie Cup games will also be taken in. Two days of rest and relaxation will be taken at the Mabula Game Reserve and the last nine days of the tour will see the tour party fly into George on the famous ‘garden route’. Here the College will play their second game before travelling to Knysna, Hermanus, Pletenburg Bay and Langa.
In the Langa Township the tourists will bring educational supplies and this will no doubt be a humbling experience.
From the Garden Route, the College Team will travel west to Cape Town to play in the Swartland Festival while trying to balance training and tourism the party are scheduled to visit Robben Island, Table Mountain, The Cape of Good Hope and Stellenbosch.
Senior College coach Geoff Caldwell is very excited about the tour and believes it is a reward for the hard work of the players.
“It is undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity for the players to enjoy the unique camaraderie of a tour and hopefully experience success on the pitches of this great rugby country,” said Geoff.
He also added the tour would not have happened without the support of local firms and the community, where all our fundraisers were really well supported.
“South Africa will be an amazing experience and success will be measured by performances on the pitch, however, I have no doubt our tour party will be great ambassadors for Ulster and Irish rugby.”
The Lurgan College rugby teams had a successful season. The Medallion XV, 2nd XV and 1st XV all fought hard in their competitions and all the players and coaches worked hard to ensure further rugby improvement continues in the Lough Road School.
The Medallion toured Scotland in February and now it is the turn of the senior players to visit one of the real rugby countries as the senior squad travels into the Southern Hemisphere to face the physicality of South Africa rugby. The tour is also planned as a springboard to start the season organised and ready to go under the new coaching of Head of Rugby Kyle Macallan.
Training has continued up to the end of June and the College players have worked hard to ensure they keep a cardio base as they undertake a 16 day tour to play rugby in Pretoria, Johannesburg, George and Capetown.
The tour party would like to thank all the local firms who have generously sponsored towards the trip of a life time and the College is grateful to Avondale Foods, Classic Mineral Water, Dale Farm, ABP Food Group Lurgan, Apex Blinds, Craigavon Office Supplies, Norman Emerson and Son, Howard Abraham, DV8, JR McMahon Lurgan, Apple Blossom Travel, Chantilly Lace and Debonair amongst other local firms.
It has been a real team effort and the tourists have also fundraised over £25,000 to secure the viability of this fantastic opportunity.