HSBC WORLD SEVENS GOLD COAST Day 1

IMG_0110The first round of this season’s World Sevens rugby junket 2013/14 started at 10:30am on the beautiful Gold Coast with New Zealand playing USA in their Pool A match. The Kiwis were victorious over the Americans 38-0. This was followed up by the ever improving Kenyans, with a huge supporter base, smashing the Tongans also by 38-0. With a rain shower threatening, the action was boiling over on the field. And when the Aussies squandered a 21-0 lead over Scotland to draw their match, upsets were looking like a strong possibility.

I was with a nervous Australia 7s coach, Michael O’Conner, watching Samoa playing an impressive Scottish outfit. The latter almost forced another draw, however the Samoans were not giving up easily and managed a 19-12 win. O’Conner said, “We just have to win our next two matches to top our pool.”

Australia then accounted for Argentina 22-7 in the following match with their eyes firmly focussed on the 7:46pm match with Samoa. In the meantime New Zealand was progressing through nicely, easily beating Tonga 26-0 and defeating Kenya 31-0 in the twilight to top Pool A. Last year’s champions, Fiji, were looking alright until they lost to Wales in their last Pool C match 19-22 to Wales. Since Wales had lost 17-24 against Canada earlier in the day the top three teams all finished on 7 points. On count back Fiji topped Pool C.

South Africa had an impressive first day defeating France 29-5, Spain 38-7 and a strong England side 22-14. They topped Pool B and will play Wales tomorrow in the Cup quarter final, with England placed second in Pool B they will have to face Fiji in the quarters.

The Aussies played some of the best rugby I have seen them play to defeat Samoa 12-0 nil in the final match of Day 1. Thereby topping Pool D, which sets them up for a quarter final with Kenya tomorrow at 12:42pm –just like last year when they beat eventual champions Fiji in their last pool match. With Samoa coming second in Pool D, they will have to play the Kiwis at noon in their quarter final.

Basically going to form, Sunday’s action is going to be a mouth-watering feast of 7s rugby. If you are still without a ticket there are a few available at the gate so come on down.

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Souths Rugby Football Club, Brisbane USA-Canada Tour 1988

This November will mark the 25th anniversary of the Southern Districts Rugby Union Football Club’s epic undefeated tour of the USA and Canada. On the 26th of November, 1988 a contingent of 48 members, both players and supporters, departed Brisbane Airport bound for Vancouver. Led by Tour Captain Mark “Nugget” White, the youngest member was Brad Moriarty, at just 10 years old, and the eldest, Henri Harries, at 54 years of age. The tour party grew to 50 as we were joined by Ken & Sue Wills, who had travelled via Europe before coming over to Vancouver.

 

The tour was the culmination of some of the finest moments of the club’s history: winning the Brisbane A Grade Premiership in 1986 (not since 1958); followed the next year, 1987, by defeating Parramatta in Sydney for the Australian Club Championship; and a star studded Colts 1 side winning the Premiership in 1988. As the youngest player in the touring party, at 19, and having played in the Premiership winning Colts 1 team, it was a particularly memorable occasion.

 

After a massive travelling effort of some 22+ hours, from Brisbane to Sydney to Honolulu to LA-X, then finally a Delta Airlines flight up to Vancouver. Upon arrival we were expected to play rugby against Meraloma RFC in the rain & icy conditions out on North 10th Street near the Molson Brewery. Being the youngest member I was relegated to the bench; however, it wasn’t too long before I debuted for Souths seniors as a replacement flanker. I remember getting tackled and bracing my fall with my hand in what I thought was a puddle of water; which turned out to be ice… The first match was won and this was followed by much drinking and merriment well into the night and onto the streets of downtown Vancouver.

 

From Canada we travelled to San Francisco to play the Golden Gate Rugby Club in the middle of Golden Gate Park for another win. Located in the middle of Golden Gate Park with the rugby fields inside a cycling track, it proved a bit treacherous just entering to play. San Fran is a beautiful city and Fisherman’s Warf proved a big drawcard for building camaraderie; one memorable day was spent at the Eagle Café, Pier 39.

 

After three days we were back in the air and out to Las Vegas where we stayed at the iconic Landmark Tower. Gambling and stage productions was the goal here, although a few participated in a 7s tournament. A road trip was then planned, the two coaches were loaded with Coors & Budweiser before we headed out to Hoover Dam and then a night at the Grand Canyon. A scenic trip through Monument Valley saw us arrive in Scottsdale, Arizona for our third match & a memorable win.

 

Back on the coaches we continued to San Diego where we played & won against UCSD to complete our “Grand Slam”. Trips to San Diego Zoo & Tijuana were arranged before heading up to Los Angeles for more sightseeing at Universal Studios & Disneyland.

 

The main tour group departed LA on December 13th for two nights in Honolulu en-route back to Brisbane; whilst a few of us decided to stay on and extend our American experience. Those of us who stayed on, caught up with Gary Christison, a late withdrawer from the original tour, for Christmas 1988 in New York, New York.

 

Tour Party: Mark White “Tour Captain”, Grant Brady, Anthony Blake, Michael Bailey, Stephen Blackburn, Paul Coffey, Warwick Currin, Shane Campbell, Sean Cuffe, Tony Cooper, Anthony Crane, Kevin Culla, Ian Cameron, John Deighton, Peter “Doubles” Daley, Brian Drainey, Mark Derwin, Patrick Dempsey, Richard Dickson, Michael Duke, Jon Eske, Michael Firth, Darren Free, Alec Harris, Henri Harries, Connie Harries, David Hickey, Gary Henderson, Mark Jenvey, David Knight, Donna Knox, Michael Maloney, Ian Moriarty, Cheryl Moriarty, Brad Moriarty, Paul Mitchell, John Mulvihill, Gary Perrett, Christopher Rea, Danielle Strachan, Gavin Sparks, Michael Turner, Ray Thomas, John Wilson, Barry Watson, Barry Wilkin, Lyn Wilkin, Ken Wills, Sue Wills, Sean Zegenhagen.ImageImageImageImage