Year 13 students Theo, Rowan and Jack travelled to Japan with Bath RFC for a Rugby tour and returned victorious with an unbeaten record.
The talented 16- to 18-year-olds were invited to Beppu – a sister city of Bath since 1991 – as part of the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The colts played four matches on their ten-day trip; beating three Japanese teams and John Paul College from Rotorua, New Zealand, who performed the Haka and provided a particularly tough encounter.
Year 13 student, Theo Stonier, commented:
‘This has been an amazing opportunity and one of the most incredible experiences. Our host families were so welcoming and I really feel I have made lifelong friends, I have even been invited back to stay for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
For me, pushing myself outside my comfort zone and embracing new cultures and meeting new people has really been a life changing. I have memories I will never forget.’
The team, some of whom have been playing together since they were seven – are made up of pupils from seven or eight schools in the Bath area and have a number of county representatives in their ranks.
Off the field, they experienced the hot springs of Oita and helped to build on the work of the Bath-Beppu Friendship Association.
Led by former student, captain Gene Norris, they featured on TV and in local newspapers, visited Asia Pacific University and Tsurumidai School, where members of the team presented a talk to the pupils.
Finally, the boys and the coaching team spent a day in the capital, Tokyo, before returning home tired but undefeated.