Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour - South Island June 2022

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour

The Tour

Day 1 – Late arrival into Christchurch Airport. Introductions and accommodation at Christchurch Rugby Club Academy for 4 nights. The sights of Christchurch and elite training session.

Day 2 – Watching local Rugby and official welcome to CRC.

Day 3 – Matches against Papanui-Merivale (win 38-6) & Cashmere High School (win 28-18)

Day 4 – Transfer Christchurch to Queenstown.

Day 5 – Match v Cromwell College (draw 26-all)

Day 6 – Match v Wakatipu High School (win 36-22)

Day 7 – Coronet Peak Skiing and Snowboarding.

Day 8 – Departure Queenstown to Brisbane to Noosa

Touring Party
Management – Kirrily Dowdee (Manageress), Wade Batty (Coach) & Jason Larsen)
Players – Alaska Rosenkranz, Bryce Jacob, Chanar Marks, Charlie James, Clancy McKenzie, Eli Fitzgerald, Finnbar Burgess, Huddy Going, Jamie Leitch, Jonah Fitzgerald, Josh Nitschmann, Klay Dowdee, Kruse McDonald, Mali Onfray-Hawkins, Max Jones, Max McKarrow, Nick Peterson, Ollie Brennan, Oscar Batty, Rhys Coustanzo, Sam Jones, Tom Peterson & Will Auckland. 

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour

Day 1 

After a late night arrival into Christchurch from Brisbane we transferred to our Christchurch Rugby Club (CRC) accommodation for our 4-night stay in New Zealands Garden City. With an outside temperature of -1 degree the 26 person Touring Party awoke to very frosty conditions necessitating a 7am walk around the facility to check things out.

Christchurch Rugby Club gave the boys a wonderful cooked breakfast (enjoyed by all – especially the "hash browns") before we set out on a brief sightseeing venture around the city. First stop was Brighton Pier on the Coast – where the hearty Christchurch surfers (in full wetsuits) were enjoying the swells. Some thing always gets lost early on Tours and this morning was no exception with Mali's football disappearing onto the Civic Centre roof, much to everyone's delight. From there we went into Christchurch Central and viewed the remaining damages from the 2011 earthquake including the Cathedral in the City Square.

Lunch back at CRC and then the squad were geared up and experienced a fully inclusive training session with CRC Coaching Staff. For the first hour or so various team activities were done to create a real "team mate" environment before the backs and forwards were split with the emphasis on forward scrumaging and lineouts while the backs were put thru a series of backline drills aimed at sharpening up passing and running skills.

After showering (well some of them did) we were back in the Lounge and Kitchen at CRC for an evening meal and some social interactions with a Rugby Quiz based on NZ-Aussie history mixing in with local Junior members of CRC. 

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour 2022

Noosa Dolphins official Welcom to CRC

Day 2

Everyone a little sore this morning from yesterdays training mixed in with a "late" night around the CRC and our Units, however a quiet morning including a recovery session at the Queen Elizabeth II Indoor Pool complex and the Hydro-slides attached to them.

Late lunch and then the full squad watched and supported the CRC Mens Premier Team playing against Lincoln University at CRC, with the boys acting as ball boys where required. Late afternoon we went to a new Rugby/Hockey/Netball Otakaro Stadium to watch the CRC Womens team win the Christchurch Womens Championship Final.

We were back at the CRC soon after 7.30pm to be officially welcomed to the Christchurch Rugby Club by their current President along with Club Manager Nicola Flint and Club Captain Hunter Graham.

From there it was "Party Time" with the Womens Team celebrating their Championship success with several activities that had the boys witnessing how the Kiwi's enjoy victory!

No dramas tonight with the boys beginning preparations for tomorrows opening matches of the 2022 Tour.

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour 2022

Noosa, Papanui-Merivale & Cashmere Rugby Teams Tri-Series

Day 3

Match Day!!

A relatively quiet morning around camp this morning with gear being checked and boots purchased to prepare for the 2 x 30 min halves the Noosa Dolphins will play against Papanui-Merivale and Cashmere High School.

A few nerves but these were soon settled once the boys got things cracking with a comprehensive 38-6 win against Papanui-Merivale followed up with a solid 28-18 win against the Cashmere High School XV. Two great games of Rugby organised by the CRC Management with no injuries and some open running Rugby played. Hard to pick dominant players but Mali Onfray-Hawkins certainly made his presence know to all the opposition tackler while Max Jones showed plenty of halfback skills taking the right options and firing out some great passes.

All three teams joined together for the afternoon of presentations and pizza to cap of a fine stay at the Christchurch Rugby Club. Once the Noosa lads were alone with our CRC hosts brief presentations and thank-you speeches were given to the CRC Management for their superb hosting of the 2022 Noosa Dolphins Under 15 squad.

A quick trip to the local McDonalds was a necessity for the lads to cap their stay in Chrictchurch then back to base to begin packing for an early departure in the morning.............we thought??

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour 2022

Day 4

Moving Day – Christchurch to Queenstown, 490km, 6 hour journey!!

With 2 incredibly comfortable 17-seater vans we headed away across the Canterbury Plains toward the Southern Alps via Lake Tekapo, Fairlie, across the Lindis Pass and thru the Kawaroa Gorge to New Zealands hidden delight – Queenstown.

6.30am breakfasts and away by 7.15am with my passengers were asleep before the outskirts of Christchurch were reached (so much for last night early bed call). Great scenery – not that the boys saw it – and it was a good 2 hours before the music (if you call it music) was booming throughout the van! Luckily we reached Fairlie for a refuel and food-stop (no McDonalds here) but a wonderful Bakery that touched all our needs.

Now we climbed into the mountains and a stop at the top of the Lindis Pass for the official "snow fight" between vans. -1 degree didn't deter these lads and they loved every minute of it even jandals were worn by one of the Noosa bunnies.

Unfortunately we ran into rain and our 2pm session on the Highlands Go Karts had to be abandoned so we continued onto Queenstown to settle into our new home – Lakeview Holiday Park – in the heart of Queenstown. Only a 3 minute downhill walk to the centre of town (and a taxi ride back), magnificent views of the Remarkable snow covered mountains and a Tourist mecca on our doorstep.

After settling in it was dinner at Queenstown Lone Star and a night checking the sights and sounds of the Town.

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour

Noosa and Cromwell teams

Day 5

Match day vs Cromwell College at Cromwell.

Making our own breakfast was a challenge this morning after the service we'd received at Christchurch but touring life has it's issues and we were on the road to Cromwell for our match against the locals. Home advantage was certainly in Cromwells favour
  • 23 tired lads
  • -1 degree temperatures and fresh snow on the surrounding mountains
  • and we forgot the jerseys (sorry Kirrily – it had to come out)

A slightly delayed start, and the Noosa lads in borrowed jerseys didn't help and several law interpretations made it a very difficult task, but to the Noosa lads credit they stuck to the task and escaped with a 26-all Draw after being 7-17 down at halftime. With tries to Max Jones, Chanar Marks, Oscar Batty & Kruze McDonald it was a fair reflection on the state of the game.

A quick lunch at Cromwell and we were at the Highlands Car Racing & Go-Kart Track where the adults got to understand why "drivers licences" aren't awarded to all. Great fun, great track & great entertainment was had by all.

Back to Queenstown with a brief stop at AJ Hackett Bungy Jump (thankfully it was closed) and then out to Winnie Bagoes Pizza Parlour fo dinner. Winnie's is a very popular choice to visitors and with the roof being retractable the highlight was eating pizza, looking at the stars above and a temperature around 0 degrees!

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour

Day 6

Match Day v Wakatipu High School at Frankton, Queenstown.

Breakfast well received this morning then a jaunt into town and measuring arrangements at Snowbiz for the lads excursion to Coronet Peak tomorrow. Jackets, pants, boots, gloves, goggles, helmets and a choice of Skis or Snowboards had the boys just exactly what they were letting themselves in for!

Then as the afternoon sun faded (sunset at 4.20pm) our final match of the Tour against a formidable Wakatipu High School XV that kicked off at 4pm in +1 degrees. Their HAKA was outstanding and the Noosa response just as dramatic as we led 17-7 at the break thanks to a solid forward effort and tries to Rhys Constanzo, Josh Nitschmann & Mali Ofray-Hawkins. The Wakatipu team came back at the Noosa boys midway thru the 2nd Half but an intercept try to Oscar Batty on fulltime blew the winning score out to 36-22 to the Noosa boys. Other tries went to Rhys and Kruze McDonald but a deserving win to Noosa and a great onfield climax to the Tour.

Back to Queenstown with a brief stop at AJ Hackett Bungy Jump (thankfully it was closed) and then out to Winnie Bagoes Pizza Parlour fo dinner. Winnie's is a very popular choice to visitors and with the roof being retractable the highlight was eating pizza, looking at the stars above and a temperature around 0 degrees!

Rugby – "job well done boys!" was the call from Management.

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour

Day 7

Snow Day!

A real early start – down at the Snow Bus by 7.30am (again below zero temperatures) up to the Ski Fields of Coronet Peak by 9am and into the snow!! Not as easy as it looks but still a great adventure. All adventures come with ups and downs and while most survived the experience it was Josh Nitschmann who fell and badly dislocated his shoulder – thank goodness the Rugby was completed. A speedy trip down the mountain and a visit to A&E confirmed the injury but Josh wasn't missing anything.

Pretty dam cold was the opinion of the day as we headed out for dinner once again, this time at Pog Mahones Irish Bar which centered right in the middle of town and an upstairs lounge (in freezing conditions) didn't dampen enthusiasm. Most of the team headed for the Haunted House after tea and an ice cream before the final journey back to base for the final night.

Noosa Dolphins Under 15 Rugby Tour

Day 8

Home time!

Every tour comes to an end and this tour was no exception – great time had by all, plenty of thrills and spills, a couple of issues – "big Foot" to say the least but overall another successful enjoyable Noosa trip to the "Land of the Long White Cloud" or the "Mountains of Snow" as some reflected.

The morning was spent "cleaning up & packing" before a last jaunt around the Town Centre before heading to Queenstown Airport and the dramas of getting 23 15 year olds thru Customs and onto the plane.

A good farewell interview (on facebook), a few farewells and the end of another Noosa foray into Kiwi Land was over.

As is traditional this old Kiwi had a ball!