|3 Feb 2020|
I went to the evening as a member of the Development Office and lover of all things rugby. I was seated on a table with parents of students in the Sixth Form so it was good to see a few familiar faces; we were tasked with picking our top British and Irish Lions XV and playing a game of Heads and Tails with questions based on the Rugby World Cup 2019. The food was served and as the alcohol flowed, so did the conversation!
After the main course, the speeches began and Head of Rugby, Mr Whiting spoke about the core values that rugby demonstrates: discipline, courtesy and determination and how he aspires to teach them to every boy in the school. He explained how the sport at Vesey’s has grown and become such a powerful force, and ended the speech wishing Italy all the best for the tournament (I think they are going to need it)!
The main speaker of the evening, Welsh international and former British and Irish Lions scrumhalf, Robert Jones then took to the stage. He recounted many anecdotes of his playing days, from playing in the Five Nations and Rugby World Cup to his tour of Australia with the British and Irish Lions. He shared what he had learnt through rugby and why it is still so important today. It was inspirational to hear him speak and a pleasure to meet him afterwards.
My favourite story was when he described his encounter with the 1995 All Blacks at the South Africa World Cup. Before the game, Wales Head Coach Alan Davies told the media that his team were ‘fitter, faster, stronger and more ready’ then their opponents. Robert confessed that that was the only moment in his career when he felt genuine fear, as he and the rest of his team realised the true nature of what was before them. After the game, which New Zealand won 34-9, Robert remembers being quite pleased with how he played. His passes off left and right were good, his kicks from the ruck and maul were direct and unlike many of his other teammates he hadn’t missed a tackle on the late great Jonah Lomu. Unfortunately, that was because he hadn’t attempted one either!
At the end of the evening, the raffle prizes were won, the auction prizes bid for and the winner of the Lions XV announced: our table had won! It was a wonderful evening spent with great people and I look forward to attending again next year. Thank you to The Rootless Pub for supplying drinks all evening, the caterers for the wonderful food and Pickford Solicitors for sponsoring the event.