The Changzhou Giants Rugby team, consisting of many players within the WAIS Staff Common Room, travelled down to the prestigious Xiamen 10s tournament this past weekend, competing against some of the best teams in China, including old rivals Shanghai Silver Dragons, Shanghai Dolphins, and the Beijing Ducks.
Taking a strong squad down, the tournament, played on the iconic Gulangyu Island and now in its 11th year, started early, with the first matches kicking off at 8am. With the heat and humidity slowly increasing through the morning, the Giants managed to secure two wins (vs Fuzhou Tigers 33-5 and vs Shanghai Dolphins 14-0), with Mr. Gray from the Primary school, Mr. Ingall from the PE department, and Mr. Lane from the Science department, particularly impressing, before a 7-7 draw against a strong Beijing Ducks outfit.
In the semi-finals of the cup competition, against perennial rivals, Shanghai Silver Dragons, after going 0-12 down early in the game, the Giants fought back, with two further tries from Mr. Gray and Mr. Ingall to tie the game up at 12-12. However, straight from kick off, the Giants let in a soft try, which proved to be the deciding score, with Shanghai winning, and progressing to the final, 19-12 (which they would go on to lose to eventual champions, Chongqing Rangers.)
Although the Giants were disappointed on the day, their spirits were cheered by the knowledge that many of the secondary school pupils who had been beginning their own rugby careers at WAIS, were enthralled on Saturday afternoon, watching the games being streamed live outside the PE office.
More and more pupils at WAIS, both boys and girls, are enjoying the game of rugby, with up to thirty playing regularly in Primary, and well over one hundred in the Secondary, and with the upcoming U11 and U13 tour to Beijing next week, and the first ever tour to the UK in 2020, along with having the chance to be the first ever Chinese school to compete in the prestigious Rosslyn Park 7s, there is more and more opportunity for the rugby program at WAIS to make huge steps forwards in the near future.