Belmont’s leading rugby players returned from the Algarve, Portugal after a highly successful tour in which 38 Upper School pupils represented Belmont against Portuguese and English opposition. The boys experienced living, eating and training like professional players, even staying at the prestigious Browns training complex which is used by some of the world’s leading rugby nations. The weather did not disappoint and after a torrential downpour on the first morning, temperatures hit 27°c for the rest of the week.
A structured training schedule was organised by former Welsh international Alix Popham who was part of the Belmont Games staff for the week. Statistical data was gathered during all matches such as tackles made and yardage gained. This quickly stimulated conversation in the scheduled team meetings and developed strong competition amongst the squad members. Mr Fleet led the recovery sessions in the swimming pool and the boys rather reluctantly all experienced how ice baths can help to aid recovery! In between training, Belmont faced testing Portuguese opposition Belennese, Evora, CDUL and national champions Dieito RFC.
The final fixture saw Belmont contest a fiercely competitive match versus English opposition, The Royal Hospital School from Suffolk. RHS snatched a draw in the dying seconds but this didn’t detract from the experience every member of the tour squad was part of. The tour finished with a presentation evening supported by the many parents who had travelled to support the squad. Twitter updates throughout the week also kept the London supporters informed. It is hoped that the training and being part of such a professional tour will continue to raise the standard of rugby at Belmont as the school strives to be the best prep school in London and surrounding counties. Every tour party member represented the school with great pride on and off the field of play.