On Thursday 31st October on Halloween night, Lansdowne U12's departed Dublin airport accompanied by the Lesinter squad who were also travelling to Newport to play the Dragons. The Leinster players looked very much at ease and showed no sings of stage fright in meeting the 26 strong Lansdowne U12 squad. 52 in total with parents included.
Billeting for the night in Cardiff, both squads had some early morning swim workouts. The Lansdowne boys went local and hit the slides at the Millennium International Swimming centre. This was followed by a tour of the Millennium Stadium and some great soup and sandwiches, kindly laid on by Fiacra Nagle and Compass Catering.
Then to business as we transferred via coach to Newport High School Old Boys Rugby Club to play their U12 squad. In two tough and hotly contested games, Lansdowne drew the first 7-7 and were piped at the post 7-0 in the second. The Lansdowne squad gave a great account of itself and the full 26 strong squad all played a full game each. This was our crowning glory; those that toured played and they did themselves proud. There was no one individual man of the match award as this was a great team effort but John Duffy's try is worth mentioning.
The Newport NSOB then provided some much needed refuelling in their clubhouse before we transferred to Rodney Parade for the Leinster v Newport Dragons game. The Lansdowne squad was the official guard of honour for the Lesinter team and this provided some great excitement in and about the fireworks that accompanied Leinster onto the field.
Leinster collected what could prove to be an invaluable four points on the road as they emerged victorious in a tense finish against the Newport Gwent Dragons...
Leinster staved off a late charge from the Dragons at Rodney Parade as two converted tries in the space of five second half minutes proved vital for the visitors.
Then off to Cardiff airport where the Lansdowne players singed autographs for the Lesinter squad.
A special word of thanks to Cormac Walsh and Aine Dunne at Joe Walsh Tours for booking the flights, hotel, coach transfers and match tickets. And all the support while we were on tour.
Thank you to the staff at Newport Dragons for their warm welcome and for arranging to have the Lansdowne boys be guard of honour for Leinster.
Thanks to all the staff at the Maldron Hotel in Cardiff: courteous, warm and very helpful.
Thanks to all the parents that toured as this was a memorable trip and will help build even closer ties between our great squad.
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