NT Under 14 Malaysian Tour
By Robbie Taylor, Assistant Coach 

The NT Under 14s recently travelled to Malaysia for a 7 day tour.  The trip was a success for the most part.

Day 1, Thursday
As we got into KL fairly early, we gave the boys a couple of hours to relax and settle into their hostel. The hostel was located in the centre of Chinatown.  We then headed out to Royal Selangor Club for our final training run before Saturday's first game. As would become common practice, it started to rain in the afternoon and we had to cut short the session due to the lightning storm that had joined us.  We then took the boys up to Times Square (a massive shopping centre) to let them run loose and have a bit of fun.  That night we had Nando's for dinner. And the boys were all in bed early for Friday's activity.

Day 2, Friday
The boys were up at 6.00am to go white water rafting down the Samen River.  It was an adventure in itself getting to the river, standing in the back of a truck and going through a rainforest, while trying not to kill the scooter drivers.  We got back to the hostel late in the arvo and decided to let the boys have dinner at Times Square again.  Then it was another early night to bed ready for our first game tomorrow. 

Day 3, Saturday
We took the boys down to the hotel that most of the parents were staying at to have breakfast as it was a buffet, and better than a piece of toast from the hostel.  We arrived at the University of KL half an hour early (as was the case with just about everything to do with the bus trips).  Kick off was at 11.00am. We were up against KL Saracens Select Squad. The state of the ground was horrendous. The boys played against a team with more size and more speed than they thought would be the case, and a referee who was struggling to keep it fair. We were down 20-0 after 15 minutes. After the slow start, the boys finally started to play to their structures, and worked hard to go into half time with no change to the early score. The second half saw the boys show more composure and they worked together well and defended hard. A lucky try with about ten minutes left was the only score in the second half against the boys. Final score NT 0 - KL Saracens 27.  We had a post-game function back at a place called Out of Africa. The food was awesome and the swim in the pool was just what we all needed.  A quiet night in for the boys as we had another game tomorrow. 

Day 4, Sunday
With a 2 hour drive to the game for today, we got the boys up early and headed off early just to be sure.  Today we played against Semashur Rugby School.  They welcomed us by showing off their trophy cabinet, which was pretty impressive to say the least. The game itself saw us get up 26-22. We got out to a good start and scored a couple of early tries, but to Semashur's credit they kept coming back at us. The boys showed great discipline to close out the game to get the win.  Another post game function saw us eating a traditional dish, very spicy!  When we got back into KL, we decided that it would be good fun to go up to Times Square and have a go at tenpin bowling. From what I saw, thank goodness they are rugby players' haha.

Day 5, Monday
We left KL and headed to Johor for the last couple of days of the tour.  On the way down, we stopped by a small coastal town and had some time at the beach. Most of us had a go at the Banana Boats.  We eventually got to Johor just before the sun went down. The boys settled into their hotel, and then we headed over to the mall for dinner, and a bit of a look around.  Early night again for the boys, ready for their last game on tour.

Day 6, Tuesday
Today we played against the Johor English College. Being Remembrance Day, we held a minutes silence before kick-off.  They were well disciplined in defence and had a bit of size and speed on us. Like their first game, the boys got off to a slow start and paid the price with three quick put on against us. The conditions were dreadful again, but the boys just didn't adapt. We got a late try to make the scoreline look better, but we went down in the end 22-7.  We went back to the school and were hosted to a celebration for the Johor English College 100 year anniversary.  Being the last night of the tour, we let the boys run wild at the mall, and had dinner there also.  Bit of a late night, but everyone enjoyed it.

Day 7, Wednesday
Our final day and a day to play so went to Legoland.  It was the perfect place; even we adults could be kids' haha.  I recommend anyone who gets the chance to go, definitely go.  With a 5 hour drive ahead, we left Legoland at about 2.30pm.  We made it to the airport with time to spare so the boys went nuts with the duty free.  And then finally it was time to jump on board our flight and head home.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this squad as they show promise for the future and were a pleasure to be around. I reckon I have 23 new great mates after this tour, and I'm proud of every one of them for the effort they put in right from the first day we started training. I hope they have had as much enjoyment from this tour as I have had.  To all of the Palmerston boys who took part, thank you. Knowing the boys helped, but I watched some of them take massive leaps forward in their rugby. I was very proud to be a part of the tour with you boys. 

Well done guys. 

Robbie Taylor