In high spirits our intrepid first time tourists set off one dreich Friday morning for the South of France to test the waters for Scottish rugby in the sun.
Thanks in no small part to the generosity of Glasgow Life and in particular Hills’ sponsors, the “senior” players in our minis section were able to take up the invitation from Marseille’s premiere club Stade Phoceen to participate as one of 24 teams in their hugely successful tournament.
The challenge was to adapt to the different rules played at that age with contested scrums and lineouts, ripping the ball and a few French 12 year olds who rivalled our coaching staff in size and hirsuteness.
On arrival we were met by Tim (an ex-pat) and his son Pablo from Stade Phoceen and were initially disorientated by the complete lack of cloud, something we had to contend with for the whole weekend along with temperatures in the high 20s. Lovely but perhaps not for an all-day tournament! Before finishing the day off with dinner at the club, the city authorities treated us to a walking tour of the old city, proudly predating Paris!
Game heads on for Saturday and the girls and boys did us proud. Adapting to the rules wonderfully and giving a few teams frights on the way, they were never outclassed even if they seemed a bit smaller and younger than their opposition. We suspected there weren’t many p6s out there!
Pushing in their effort, they rallied to win their last match ending on a high.
Sunday was of course a trip to the beach and park for some R&R with our wonderful hosts Tim and Pablo followed by a round of pizzas at a restaurant and an impromptu table football tournament.
All in all a weekend our young players will certainly never forget!
Once again, thanks to Hills’ sponsors and Glasgow Life without whom it simply would not have been possible.