New Zealand Rugby Trip March 2012

    Selwyn House Rugby in New Zealand
    New Zealand Rugby Trip 2012 Blog
    *Please note that we are 18 hours ahead of you*

    Day 1 - March 6th
    After 6-hour, 13-hour and 1-hour flights, we've finally arrived in our final destination: Christchurch, New Zealand. Weird thing is: it's Tuesday out here. The boys are all pretty tired (coaches included) and it's nice to be settled in at the hotel. We had a full day today, got a nice practice in, spent some time shopping and were able to get some All Black gear to get signed tomorrow. We spent most of the day lounging around, taking in some sun (as the weather was amazing) and bonding as a team. Believe it or not, the time change hasn't been too bad, and I'm sure adapting to it won't be a problem. Other than that, there's not too much to say. After a generally quiet day, we're ready to get some rest and look forward to a packed day tomorrow.
    We'll keep all you back home posted as the days go on and it looks like it's going to be an amazing experience.
    Dave Smith

    Day 2 - March 7th
    During our first "full" day in New Zealand, there was no shortage of activities for everyone to enjoy. We were greeted at breakfast by Andrew Ellis, one of New Zealand's All Black Rugby stars and a member of the 2011 Rugby World Cup championship team. He answered questions, discussed rugby with us and signed whatever we had to get signed. We then spent 3 hours at a ropes course which turned out to be a lot scarier than most expected. The guides were called to the rescue as Colin, Spencer and Danny refused to continue the course and were forced to be carried down from the tree-tops. Spencer, JC, Varvar, Barmish, Devin and Jonas completed the hardest course (level 6). To finish off the day, we experienced traditional Maori ( culture in a night in which we were taught the Haka (, feasted on their food which is cooked in a hole in the ground, and to the likes of Colin we were able to see some Kiwi - New Zealand's national animal (I think...).
    We've got our first game tomorrow, (one that I'll comfortably be watching from the sidelines due to my injury), and everyone is pretty excited to see what these guys are made of. Wish us luck....
    Dave Smith

    Day 3 - March 8th
    Greetings from Zealand! Today was quite an eventful day. We had a huge breakfast with eggs and sausages to get us going.
    The accomodations are great! We've been fed well and we've adjusted quite well to the time. The people of New Zealand have treated us with the utmost respect and have been really nice. To kick off the day we went to the largest mall in Christchurch where we spent an hour shopping for gifts for our loved ones. The entire team purchased swag all blacks apparell. Following that, we headed back to the hotel, ate lunch and rested for our game. Our game against Christchurch Boy's High School started at 4:00. The game started off with us on the receiving end. At first, many of us were rusty and they managed to score 3 trys on us, but nonetheless we managed to adapt to their game and scored two trys coming into the half. We played our hearts out and both sides had great attitude. It was a clean game with no brawls and barely any penalties. We knew it'd be a tough game but we achieved our goals (respecting the ref, improving our tackling and communication) and we played with great attitude and perseverance. We ended up losing 5 trys to 2. We only had two subs while they were a team of forty. Shoutout to our fullback Matthew Rossy for scoring our first try and David De Cotiis (fly half) for scoring our second one off of a 50 yard run. Congratulations to our rookies Devin (inside center) , Colin (eight man), Danny (wing forward), David Barmish (wing) for a superb first game! A special shoutout to Barmish for a huge hit to end the game! Our head prefect Nico Vit (eight man/ second row) was rucking like a monster out there, Nicholas Andrei (outside center) was a tackling machine and Sterling Mitchell (wing forward), as always, proved his great leadership skills motivating us as always. He never missed a tackle. Our only grade 10, Nicholas Varvarigos was not afraid to be playing with grade 11s and also proved himself on the field. The guys who played midget last year, Varvarigos (second row), Azzopardi (hooker), Wuest (wing), Jonas, Vit, Grillas (second row) proved today that they were tough players and could play at the juvenile level.  Wuest trucked a kid! Our tour Captain David Dupont (Prop) was a monster out there. He was single handedly moving our scrums and mauls. Also, our scrum half Nicholas Jonas played very well moving the ball efficiently.  Our scrum managed to steal 3 scrums off the other Christchurch team. The team is starting to have chemistry which is great. Our veteran guys demonstrated superb leadership skills. David De cotiis ended up winning MVP for the backs and Bernard Bechard Torres (prop/wing forward/scrum half/ wing) ended up winning MVP for the forwards. Both these boys hustled all game and really deserved it. They rucked hard, tackled boldly, and ran extremely hard with the ball. There's so much I could say about these guys but they were honestly the main reasons why we on the city championships last year. All the guys look up to them for the single reason that they're not all talk, they perform on the field with modesty and play with perseverance. They're great leaders and 100% derserved to be MVPs. It'll be great to have  our fly half, David Smith, for his leadership and skill is much needed. (he did kick us to a city championship) I'm also excited to see Liam Shannon, one of our rookies, playing alongside the wings, should be interesting as he was a great cornerback this season for football. The boys from christchurch were very well behaved and were generous with us after the game. Thank you to our physio Kenny for taking care of our injuries. Also thank you Mr. Paoletti, Mr. Govan and Mr. Connell for being great coaches! I'm having a great time and am so proud to be playing among theses boys. It's eight o'clock here and we're all so tired from the game. 
    Bonne Nuit to all and once more we'd like to thank our parents and Selwyn House for truly giving us this great opportunity to visit one of the nicest places in the world!
    Nick Chabanne-Salbaing

    Day 4 - March 9th
    The day started off with our usual breakfast consisting of eggs and ham to fuel us for the busy day.  We then made our way down to Hagley Park for a two hour practice with two elite Crusader coaches. Earlier on the trip we had the chance to watch one of the Crusaders practices therefore it was impressive to have them teach us some insightful technicalities. The coaches provided us with numerous tips such as holding the ball with two hands while falling to the ground. Then we walked back to the hotel where we received our bag lunches. Next we boarded the bus to Kamikaze paintball. This was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the day as we witnessed Mr. Govan getting shot multiple times as well as him shooting his own players (David Barmish). Both coaches drafted their teams making it that much more competitive. I can strongly say that the worst part of the day was when the coaches had us lined up at the end while they had their chance at getting their revenge. Mr. Paoletti's accuracy was very surprising, Mr. Govan's on the other hand not so much. It was an exhilarating experience for all of us! Lastly, we walked over to ''Adam's House'' where we watched the Crusader match. This match was particularly interesting as we identified the tips and pointers which were taught to us earlier in the day. On a final note, on behalf of the boys I would like to thank the coaches for their hard work and dedication for making it all possible. Cheers from New Zealand!
    Kosta Grillas

    Day 5 - March 10th
    Oy mates, today probably ranked as the funniest and loafest day of our trip so far. After a nice 2 hours bus ride to some other place in New Zealand, we arrived at a jet boating facility. After a short wait, we hopped into these ''jet boats'' and flew off down some stream, spinning in circles at ridiculously high speeds along they way. Nicholas Salbaing was caught screaming ''I want my Mommy'' alongside Colin Sequeira who could not hold in his tears. Kenny, arguably the most interesting man in the world, marvelled us with his insane stories throughout the ride. Alf ''THE ELF'' Paoletti looked like he had just came out of a wind tunnel; all 8 of his hairs were slicked back. During the ride, we passed by a 10 million year old rock, packed with fossils back from Mr. Govan's day. After the boat ride, we headed to the Thermal Springs, made up of hot, cold and sulphur pools. David Hasselhoff, I mean Danny Fruchtermann seized the oppurtunity to take his shirt off. The goons (Rossy, Shannon and Barmish) showed off their glutz in their skin tight speedos. Devin and Colin, the trip's two worst swimmers, refused to step near the water. David Smith forgot we came to New Zealand to play rugby as he was constanly prepping his hair and makeup for the photoshoots. All in all, it was a great day in NZ as the team got some solid bonding time. We topped it off with an in-depth analysis of our previous game against CBHS that should benefit us in the future. Seems like an early night for the boys as we prepare for our trip to Rotorua.
    This is David Barmish, you stay classy Montreal.

    Day 6 - March 11th
    Kia Ora! (which means hello) Unfortunately for us all, today’s travelling day was longer than expected. After Mr.Govan broke his earphones he had owned for who knows how long, our flight got changed to Hamilton instead of Rotorua. The pilot informed us that weather conditions weren’t clearing and that our plane had to land in Hamilton which was an hour and a half bus ride from Rotorua. Once we arrived and after a long, sleepy bus ride, most of the guys helped themselves to some nice McDonald’s. We then had a few hours to relax in our new rooms overlooking one of the craziest sights I’ve ever seen – a huge geyser spurting out steam 24/7. After we all got cleaned up, dinner was served at 6:30. We ate chicken and potatoes and spent the rest of the evening chilling out and getting some rest for tomorrow’s busy day.
    David De Cotiis

    Day 7 - March 12th
    Greetings from the other side of the planet, 
    Among today’s ups and downs was the considerable down of having to run 5k at 6:30 this morning in a light, depressing, sulfuric drizzle. Not nearly as fun as it sounds. Once we had returned to the motel, sore and wet, a few of us showered and then ate a breakfast of New Zealand eggs, New Zealand ham, and New Zealand  hashbrowns. After a few wise cracks and exercises in how dry a grown man’s sense of humor can be from Mr. Paoletti, we got dressed and took a short bus ride to a nearby “field,” although in reality it seemed like the city of Hiroshima, post-bomb. Next on the itinerary was heading off to the Rotorua Luge/sightseeing Mountain nearby. Due to cholesterol issues, Matthew Connell was not allowed to ascend the mountain, and had to remain in the bus. After the two luge runs down the hill that we were allowed, which were extremely fun, we were treated to an amazing lunch overlooking the lake that the town is situated by, which was almost enough to make us forget the fact that we were the only non-oriental visitors of the hill that day. We then dropped Santa’s right hand man, Elf Paoletti, and Kenny, our expert trainer, off at the hotel so they could escape and play a romantic 9 holes of golf. We left immediately to go to Agroventures, the less colorful, slightly more dangerous New Zealand version of Disney World. For most of us, actually all of us, it was the first time we’d ever heard of a schweeb. Google it. They also had the country’s only outdoor above-fan skydiving, also very cool. However, most of the team found their jollies in the swoop ™. A giant swing that has the users, three at a time, strapped into harnesses and screaming as they fall thirty meters and “swoop” up and down. Matthew Rossy found peace in the fact that if he did die, his Lebanese god would grant him 72 virgins in the afterlife. After a fun-filled day, the team returned to the hotel and relaxed, ate a nice dinner overlooking the geyser behind our motel, and absorbing the sulfur fumes that are probably slowly killing us. In addition, most of the team participated in a poker tournament, the winner of which I will keep a surprise.
    Liam Shannon

    Day 8 - March 13th
    It was nice not to have to wake up early for a run today. After all it is  game day. As I woke up I was relieved to not to smell the dank scent of sulfur, but then a light breeze wafted through our room and I was quickly reminded of the thermal sulfur pool that was adjacent to my hotel room.  We slept in until breakfast, then we woke-up to have eggs, hash browns and toast for the 23rd day in a row. First on the schedule today was a visit to the Whakaflockaflame thermal reserve.  Our tour guide spoke to us about how the 100-degree thermal baths are used to wash, practice water polo, increase fertility, summon satanic demons and regrow lost limbs. The waters also allowed the habitants of Wakawakaheyhey to live to for up to 100 years. Unfortunately for our coaches these mythical waters do not bring the gifts of youth or height to the people who bathe in them. We returned to our luxurious lodgings and began to prepare ourselves for the game. In Christchurch we were told that the boys in Rotorua were small and weak, so we pictured ourselves running over these puny children and scoring hundreds tries. As we got off the bus we saw a bunch of large men practicing on our field, we waited for them to get off the field so we could warm-up and await the arrival of our puny opponents. As we approached the field we realized these behemoths were all wearing shirts that said “John Paul Boys Rubgy: First XV.” On the back of their shirts there were names such as “T-Bone” and “Killer” inscribed. A communal groan erupted and Matthew had a flashback of his previous day’s Skydiving experience and he fainted. I see no good reason to write about the game, the only noteworthy moment was when Colin Sequira picked the ball up off a maul and rumbled into the endzone in a fashion that reminded us all of a young Redman Quarterback named Matt Connell. To put the icing on the cake he would then go on to eat, he finished up by kicking the two extra points. During the after match we encountered some of our worthy opponents and one of their daughters. We learnt that they had a prospective All Black, and a potential track star on their team. When they were told we were playing Aukland Grammar next the entire other team broke into laughter, but we could tell there was a little bit of pity in their eyes. All in all it was a good day everyone went to bed with a couple of bruises, but all in all high spirits. 
    Nico Vit 
    Day 9 - March 14th
    Due to an open luggage (Danny Frutcherman and Sterling Mitchell) in one of the rooms, Kenny Dos Equis Spraklin led a very early morning run and workout with the team. We hopped on the bus with our new driver at 9 a.m. and arrived in Auckland after a 3 and half hour drive. We made a quick visit to the Sky Tower, the tallest building in New Zealand, which offered exceptional views of the city and surrounding mountains. Matthew Rossy and Sterling Mitchell refrained from walking across the glass floor. We then arrived to our hotel in the afternoon, and explored the surrounding man-made beach, which had a ph reading of 47, leading to rashes on half the team. We happened to stumble upon a female nudist, which prompted most of the team to take off their shirts to join in on the festivities. Dinner was followed by second dinner of Hell’s Pizza, which included the hottest chili sauce known to mankind. We’re looking forward to the Daytona 500 tomorrow as well as our match against Auckland Grammar School, one of the greatest rugby schools in the world.
    Nicholas Jonas and Sterling Mitchell

    Today was our last full day in New Zealand, and we had a lot of stuff planned. As usual, the weather in Auckland was very nice: warm and sunny. We started off the day with go-karting. The track was great. It was made up of two levels, which was something new for everyone. The race format was also a little different than what we were all used to. We were divided up randomly in groups of three, with the exception of a few groups of two. Total length of the race was 90 laps, with the teams switching drivers every 15 laps. Being in teams made the racing a lot more fun. In the end, Bernie and Dupes took the win by two laps. The split between first and last was only something like six or seven laps, so it was a pretty close race. After go-karting, we all headed back to the hotel for lunch and some rest before our final game against Auckland Grammar School.
    Upon arrival at Auckland Grammar, we were immediately directed towards the changing rooms since the 2300 students were about to finish class and we would be swarmed. The master in charge of their rugby program gave us some information on the sports played at the school. AGS has sent more students to the All Blacks than any other school in New Zealand and over 500 boys play rugby every season, just to name a few facts. After a short walk down to the field, we watched as the Maori players performed their Haka, which we were impressed by since a few of them had what we believed to be traditional tattoos covering their faces. However, it became clear that the “tattoos” were just Sharpie drawings when they smudged off the players’ faces during the game. Although we did lose this game, we can certainly say it is the game we are most proud of since we all played our hearts out. Everybody made big hits, stayed off their heels and generally put up a good fight. During the last few seconds of the game, we carried the ball into the opposing endzone and were about to be touch it down for a try when the ref blew the whistle on a penalty of some sort. Instead of giving up, we all gathered the last bit of energy we had left and followed David DeCotiis as he drove through the AGS players, scoring our only try on the last play of the game against the premier rugby school in the world.
    Spencer Wuest and J.C. Azzopardi
    Total Rugby New Zealand website
    New Zealand Rugby Trip 2012 Photos