The summer holidays saw 46 pupils and eight staff embark on a trip of a lifetime to South Africa as part of Dromore High’s first ever rugby tour outside of Europe.
The tour had been three years in the planning and after much fundraising and preparation the tour party flew to Johannesburg on July 22.
The squad played two games at each of the four different schools they visited, Germiston High near Johannesburg, Glenwood House in George, HTS Drostdy in Worcester and Plumstead High School in Cape Town.
Some superb performances were put in resulting in the boys winning seven out of the eight games played.
Throughout the tour they visited many locations, including the Apartheid Musuem in Johannesburg, tours of both Ellis Park and Newlands Stadium, and a trip up Table Mountain. They also had the opportunity to see much of the wonderful wildlife South Africa has to offer and enjoyed two game drives seeing lions, elephants, buffalo and springbok to name but a few. They also went whale watching, visited the Birds of Eden and Monkeyland sanctuaries as well as seeing the penguin colony at Boulder Beach.
The boys really developed throughout the tour both on and off the pitch, their performances improved with every training session and match but even better was seeing them develop as young men, interacting with their peers and their opposition after the games.
Notable highlights of the tour included attending the Interschools match between Paarl Boys High and Paarl Gimnasium, the Paarl Derby, viewed as the biggest schoolboy match in the world, which had an attendance of approx. 20,000 people. This year the schools were ranked second and third in the country which made for an excellent game of rugby with Paarl Gim winning 18-17. The second highlight for the boys was the day we got to spend on the beach and complete a training session. Given that it was a winters day in South Africa it doesn’t sound like much of a highlight but the difference between a winters day on the beach in Northern Ireland compared to that in Plettenberg Bay was substantial as theyr enjoyed a glorious sunny day with the temperatures around 27 degrees Celsius.
This really was a trip of a lifetime, the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful countries in the world with 45 of their friends and getting to play rugby along the way was the icing on the cake.
As a thank you to those businesses and individuals who helped to make the tour possible they held a reception before their 1st XV game against Regent House on October 5. Tour sponsors were invited along and presented with a tour shirt to say thank you from the school and the boys for their help. Tour Sponsors were, Team Fee Pay, Morrow Contracts, Dromore Motor Repairs, Utopian Training Solutions, Central Chemical Supplies Ltd, Pepper Dromore Ltd, Zumi, Warmflow, Balance Ayurveda and H.S. Mulligan Coachworks.
The tour to South Africa was such a success and pupils gained so much, the school is pleased to announce they will be returning to South Africa in 2023 with a boy’s rugby squad and a girl’s hockey squad. This tour will be open to current Year 8, 9 and 10 pupils as well as prospective pupils currently in P7 who hope to join Dromore High next year. This promises to be another exciting tour for the school.