BLOG | Schools of Rugby U16 Squad complete tour

Following a successful tour to Japan, the Schools of Rugby U16 squad can look back fondly on two challenging matches and an amazing experience of traditional and modern Japanese culture. 

The tour, which is part of Scottish Rugby’s ongoing relationship with the city of Nagasaki, saw 24 players from nine schools in Scotland make the week-long journey.

Squad member, Jack Chelley from Hawick High School, relives the unforgettable experience of a first international rugby tour:

“We travelled to our first game and we were nervous but excited. We arrived, started our warm up and did our pre-match preparations.

Our game was against a Nagasaki school team who were fast and skilled. However, our strength and power got us an early try which gave the boys a great deal of confidence leading towards a 43-12 victory.

This was the first time our team had come together in a game and we felt great. After the game we met up with the players, had a meal and got to know each other.

The next day was a rest day and we headed out to the beach for some much-needed recovery after the previous day’s tough game. After the beach we had a BBQ nearby where we were at tables cooking our own food.

When we got back to the hotel we talked about our game plan for the next day and made a few tactical changes. Then the team was announced for the game against a Nagasaki select team (from the whole of the Nagasaki area).

When we got to the pitch we did our normal warm up and just before the game met the Mayor of Nagasaki.

The game started and from the first tackle you could tell the game was going to be hard. We tried everything to hold them out but the pressure was too much and at the end of a frustrating half the score was 12-0.

We came out at half time knowing what we had to do against Nagasaki’s solid defence. We fought hard but the speed and power from Nagasaki was too much in the end and we were defeated 29-0.

After the game we had a meal with the Nagasaki players and had a few speeches and presentations. On the last day in Nagasaki we went dragon boat racing. We split up into two boats and raced across the water using oars.

Battleship island was our next destination as we travelled across there on a boat. We walked about the deserted island where people once lived. 

At night we went to the mall where we saw the boys we were playing the night before and they took us round the shops. We then went onto the roof of the mall where we had a meal. There were a couple speeches and then we said our final goodbyes and headed back to the hotel.

Last thing that night was reflecting on the tour and giving out the final awards.”

At the end of the tour the squad and coaches, including ex-Scotland captain, Al Kellock, selected award winners from the group who represented the team well on and off the field during the trip.

Schools of Rugby U16 tour award winners

Most Improved Player: Brodie Buchanan (St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School)

Top Tourist: Billy Douglas (Maxwelltown High School)

Culture Award: Jack Chelley (Hawick High School)

Player of the Tour: Connor Sutherland (Hawick High School)