Some may say we saved the best for last, especially the Welsh.
The Bahay Bata team travelled to the world famous Millennium Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park which is located in Wales, the trip across the border from Bristol to Wales took one hour. Coach Cullen had arranged to meet ex Wales National Team player and mate, Peter Rogers who played in the very first game at the Millennium Stadium in 1999 when Wales upset the then World Champions South Africa. Peter had arranged a free tour of the Welsh stadium and took time out to join the tour and give the boys a firsthand encounter of what is like to play for your country in such a majestic ground. The boys all agreed that the Millennium stadium had more atmosphere than Twickenham and they enjoyed the first class tour of the stands, hospitality boxes, royalty seats and changing rooms.
Peter Rogers, who played prop for Wales, then escorted the team into the city of Cardiff, to the traditional markets and Cardiff Castle. The boys enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of Cardiff and ate lunch in the park whilst feeding pigeons and seagulls.
The day ended with the formal farewell back at Clifton College, each of the boys personally presented and thanked their host families with flowers and thank you certificates, as expected there were tears and the Clifton students and parents had obviously become attached the Bahay Bata boys during the 10 day home stay.
Gifts were exchanged and Clifton College Principal Mr. John Milne praised the Bahay Bata boys for their exemplary behaviour and invited the PRFU to bring another group of boys to visit Clifton College in 2012, which is a special year for the Clifton College as they celebrate their 150th anniversary.
It was also fitting that ex British Lions player John Bentley attended the ceremony and spoke highly of the Bahay Bata Foundation and Rugby Development in the Philippines. He explained how he had visited the Philippines on numerous occasions and gave talked about the problems faced in a developing country such as the Philippines. It was great to see John Bentley supporting the PRFU in his home country and we look forward to seeing him again at next year’s Manila 10s.
The following morning, the Bahay Bata boys were very sad to leave the school and the whole group hugged and thanked their Clifton College friends.
Over the last 10 days the Bahay Bata team have learned about the English and Welsh Cultures, played and won Rugby and visited some of the most famous sights and Rugby Stadiums in the United Kingdom. This certainly was the trip of a lifetime for the young Rugby players and it is noticeable that they have grown and benefited from this amazing trip abroad.
This is Rugby Union grassroots development at its very best and everyone who was involved in the tour came away with new friends and positive experiences.
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