With torrential rain, flooded pitches and some very wet players and spectators, the heart and soul of the Rhinos was never dampened!
Both on and off the pitch they entertained us with an awesome vocal display. Some fabulous rugby that left their opponents wondering what on earth they were up against!
The tour kicked off with a 30 strong touring party on the coach to Somerset. It has to be said the Rhinos are hugely more talented as rugby players than they are as vocalists - the love song duets left much to be desired!!
On arrival at the Sidcot Arms hotel, the tourists were so impressed with the size of the rooms that by midnight all 12 players were sleeping in one room, 4 in the king sized bed, 2 under the bed, 2 on Z beds, and 4 scattered on mattresses on the floor!
In fact it was the parents that were being asked to be quiet after the bar closed!
With everyone safely tucked up in bed, the heavens opened and it did not stop all night! It was clear we were going to be in for a wet, muddy festival.
Sporting their new shirts, thanks to Dan McDonald, the Rhinos took to the pitch for their first pool game against Winscombe A. They looked a natural 7s team and must have given the home team a real shock. Winscombe A never managed to get into the Chelmsford 22 and certainly could not stop the Rhinos running in try after try. Joe Lisney was the first on the score sheet after 45 seconds, closely followed by Scott Griffin and Josh Wright. Joe Lisney then added another on halftime. Two further tries by Stefan Warner and Alex Gilham after the restart bought the game to a premature end (30-0).
The boys retreated to the comfort of their changing room in an attempt to dry off and keep warm - their spirits were high and they resumed their sing song! There was no let up in the weather conditions (or the singing) and the pitches were becoming increasingly waterlogged. Ten minutes before the scheduled kick off time of the next pool game, the organisers deemed conditions too adverse to continue. Having travelled such a distance, however, they agreed we would play one more match!
Our next and last victims were Clifton who had also dispatched their first opponents 30-0. Clifton were however no match for the mighty Rhinos and on his first day back from injury, Josh Wright powered in a hattrick of tries. Scott Griffin, Stefan Warner and Alex Gilham added to the tally (30-0). Clifton were left wondering what on earth they'd be hit with, the Rhinos had certainly stamped their authority on the tournament. There is no doubt that had the festival continued the Rhinos would have secured the Cup.
All that was left was the mud slide finale, and all the players took great delight in seeing just how far they could get on their stomachs!
Despite the weather it was a great tour that was thoroughly enjoyed by all! Thanks to Phil Gilham
and Ash Wright for taking charge of the 7s rugby.
This team has so much potential, we look forward to unleashing more of it next season!