Glenwood have two teams playing in Argentina. Their coach, Sean Erasmus, again sends reports of their cheerful progress.
The boys have spent two nights with their hosts and most of the boys were very happy but everyone was humbled and appreciative of what they have at home. The families went out of their way to look after the boys and the boys have some great stories to tell when they get home.
Our last day in Cordoba was spent playing the match against the boys from the Jockey Club of Cordoba. It is a massive rugby club with 400 players, but the whole Jockey Club is situated on ten city blocks worth of property and includes hockey, soccer, equestrian show jumping and, of course, rugby. The club is one of the biggest and has a huge membership base. The fields are in beautiful condition and they are now in the process of building a gym for the rugby section.
We have been struggling with the weather over here as everyday hovers around the 40 to 42 degree mark and is made worse by the humidity. Whilst we were in the change room strapping and preparing for the game the heavens opened and the rain poured down for at least a hour putting kick-off time back b because of the heavy rains and thunder. As the rain died down the Glenwood boys seized the chance for some duck diving on the drenched pitch much to the amusement of the locals.
The game was yet again a tight affair and our boys were met with strong defensive tackles. The Argentinians play with big hearts and lots of passion. Our boys were behind after the first try in the first half but did not back and did not give an inch. The second half went better and Ruben Janse van Rensburg went over for the five pointer after Mavrick Robberts was stopped short of the try line, Ruben gathered the ball and fell over the tryline. We failed to convert and the score was tied at 5-all. The Golden team has come a long way and the boys did well to fight back for the draw.
In every game our boys have put their bodies on the line and defended their try-line with much passion. The final score remained 5-all and the boys had been in the Argentinian half for most of the last 20 minutes. The boys yet again agreed that they could do better and we will work hard towards the game on Sunday in Mendoza.
The Green team played next and started at a ferocious pace scoring the first try in 10 minutes after the team played well together moving the ball and securing quick ball for the attack. Matthew Worrall-Clare scored the first try of the match after he powered over with two Argentinians on his back. We failed to convert and led 5-0. The game died down and the Glenwood boys seemed to be running out of steam.
The Argentinians capitalised on this and took a quick tap from a penalty kick and dived over untouched. The half-time chat was anything but pleasant and we were very honest about our relaxed attitude on the field and the huge amount of errors we were making under no pressure. The boys played a little better in the second half. A few changes were made and the boys seemed to gain some momentum from the fresh legs. Nkululeko Mcuma danced his way through defence after Rupert Kay broke the line and passed it. Warren Potgieter converted and Glenwood lead 12-5 with minutes left to play. We continued the momentum and spent the last few minutes near the goal line of Cordoba but their strong defence held and the final score stayed at 12-5 in the favour of Glenwood.
It has been a tough two days for the boys with their hosts and it showed on the field, the boys have been exposed to the hospitality of the Cordoban people and I think the boys had very little rest before the match, add the heat and the fact that we have been living on massive chunks of red meat and not much else and that equals poor performance.
After the game the boys were once again hosted and fed and we were presented with gifts from the president of the club at the after match function. We thanked our hosts, presented them with small gifts and jumped on the bus for our overnight bus trip to Mendoza. The trip was nine hours long and tiring for the boys, although we have a nice bus you never really have a comfortable sleep in a bus. We were stopped along the way by federal police for routine check and woken by a shining torch in your face asking where you are from and where you are heading... strange and scary... especially mid-sleep.
We arrived at 07.30 this morning and had breakfast at the hotel before setting off on a one and a half hour drive to the Andes Mountains for a river rafting experience similar to that in the Zambezi. We were six in a raft with a guide. After a detailed safety talk and us practising we were ready to hit the water, helmet and lifejacket included!
We had loads of fun and the boys loved it! It was exciting, scary and very challenging! The trip lasted about an hour and some of the boys fell off the rafts and were rescued within seconds. We arrived back at base and had a traditional Asado (braai) for lunch. Lots of red meat again washed down with Pepsi and homemade bread topped off with a lovely pudding and the boys slept all the way back to the Hotel! We have just placed them with their last family for hosting and the staff has been invited by the coach of Mendoza for supper. Supper here is never before 10pm... very hard to get used to.
Tomorrow we play Mendoza at 11.30am and 12.30am, after that we have the afternoon at leisure before departing for Iguaçu Falls from the airport in Mendoza on Monday morning 6am!
I will keep you posted and up to date as we continue with our tour in this very beautiful country. We are missing our families and appreciate everything they have done to give us this opportunity.
By Sean Erasmus
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