Although the day began damp, dreary, and definitely on the chilly side, the IAPS U11 Prep School Rugby Festival that followed on Wednesday 24th November was the exact opposite. 13 teams from schools across the Midlands descended on the pristine Rugby pitches and hallowed turf of Ratcliffe College, and treated the large attendance of excited parents to a day of exhilarating, highly skilled and high-octane Rugby.
Plenty of tries were scored, hard (but fair!) tackles were made, rucks were contested, and the hearts, minds of every player was expended and pushed to their very limits as pure grit and determination was shown. Being a festival of Rugby and not a tournament, there was no overall winner as such, if anything, it was definitely safe to say Rugby was the winner! At a time when Rugby is going through a process of re-evaluation, those who witnessed first-hand the effort, enthusiasm and enjoyment of every boy who took to the field would have been reassured that Rugby still has an important part to play in Prep School Sport and is well and truly in safe hands for future generations.
Who knows, we may have seen the next England Scrum half, winger, or prop forward on these pitches. But what is for certain, is that we have seen young men with a sense of pride, honour, integrity, and unity playing to win but playing fairly, respecting the referee, supporting, and trusting their team-mates and respecting and appreciating the efforts of their opponents.
Rugby is producing these young boys into men, and it is Rugby we should value for providing these young gentlemen with such a strong set of values. Every player represented their school amazingly and we cannot thank them enough for such a great day. Also a special thank you to all coaches and staff who attended and made sure this event was a success. We look forward to hosting again next year!
Mr Faulconbridge, Head of Preparatory School Sport