On Saturday (March 14), London Scottish girls squad hosted a touring party from Thomas A Stewart School in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada as part of the London leg of their European tour.
Our guests from TAS Rugby brought about 25 rugby playing Canadian girls between the ages of 14-18 together with their coaches and management.
The session started with some joint warm-up exercises to wake everyone up with some ball handling followed by some one-on-one wrestling and body contact for the local girls and Canadians to get to know each other closely.
This was followed by some joint skills sessions run by both LSFC coaches and the head coach of TAS Rugby.
With a mixture of available ages on both sides, the first match played was 10-a-side at U15 level with the heart of the Scottish squad facing up to the younger Canadian girls for 15 minutes each way.
Our girls started the game more brightly with the Canadians more lethargic and with the ball in hand Scottish were able to apply some pressure which eventually produced a try from Becca Lawn which she ran under the posts and was converted by Morven Calway.
As the Canadian team started to find their stride, they began to play more consistently and threateningly and Scottish found it difficult to get hold of the ball.
This pressure led to an unconverted try to make the scores tight.
Continued Canadian pressure throughout the second half eventually created a second try, again unconverted.
Despite a huge effort, the Scottish girls found it hard to put together enough phases of play to get a second try and the match ended a 10-7 win to TAS Rugby.
As our numbers are low at U18s, we were delighted to welcome three girls from Pulborough RFC who had taken up our invitation to join us for the day and get in some additional playing time.
With their assistance we were therefore able to field a combined Scottish/Pulborough/Canadian side to play against the remainder of the U18 girls from TAS Rugby in another 10-a-side match.
As at U15 level, the Canadians proved themselves to be tough opponents at the breakdown and were therefore successful at securing the majority of possession but both sides were capable of being threatening with the ball in hand.
A number of breaks from each team were thwarted by resilient defending until eventually TAS Rugby found a gap to exploit and scored first with a try which was converted to put them 7-0 up.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first but the key was perhaps the persistence from the combined Anglo/Canadian team who gelled well for a side made up on the day.
In another evenly matched half, the combined team looked perhaps to want a score more and this desire eventually paid off with a try from Gabby Spencer in the dying minutes.
Unfortunately the conversion attempt slipped narrowly wide and the referee blew for full-time to leave the score 7-5 in favour of TAS Rugby against the combined team.
Regardless of the results, all the girls had a great session ending with smiles all round and the opportunity to socialise.