Trojans take down the Kiwis in New Zealand
THE Lennox Head Trojans under-13 rugby union team has just returned from New Zealand having achieved a rare feat: beating the Kiwis and bringing back something for the trophy cabinet.
What started as an idea in the pre-season became a reality as the boys flew to Queenstown to compete in the annual New Zealand Junior Rugby Festival, playing teams from Australia and New Zealand.
Over the course of the weekend, the Trojans were cheered on by a multi-generational entourage of their families who saw them beat all-comers including the Timaru Harlequins in the carnival's final. Up until that moment, the Harlequins hadn't lost a game all season.
The team was made up of boys from the Byron and Ballina shires, as well as Andrew Clarke from Lismore who was named Best-on-Ground in the carnival's final.
"We did pretty well,” said the team's captain and halfback, Tom Simpson, in his typically understated manner.
"We improved with every game over there.”
As a visiting captain, Simpson also had the very great privilege of facing the traditional haka performed during the carnival's opening ceremony.
"It was very, very frightening. But it felt kind of empowering as well, like you had the energy of the Haka upon you, firing you up,” he said.
"It was such a great opportunity, to go overseas and play against Kiwi kids in New Zealand, make new friends, swap jerseys and win a trophy.
"We lifted for the Queenstown final. Every Trojan who stepped on the field played out of their skin. It was clean and flowing. Everything just clicked.”
The triumph capped off an impressive year for the Trojans who were also premiers in the Far North Coast competition.
"We went with no expectations other than hoping the boys would play well and fill their heads with memories of the fun they had on-and-off the field in New Zealand,” coach Scott Jenkins said.
"I think we ticked both those boxes.”
It seems the Trojans aren't content just with touring across The Ditch. There's talk of a tour to Argentina and Uruguay in two years when the boys are aged 15.