Woodlands Youth Rugby went on a tour of Newcastle, England and Edinburgh, Scotland in March with a U19/17 mixed squad, playing four matches in a week to prep for the Texas State Championship.
Up first for the Texas team were the Tynedale Colts.
"Our Texas-style rucking and aggression disrupted the English style of play," said Woodlands' Mike Thibodeaux of their 31-8 defeat. "However, when Tynedale found a rhythm, the ease and grace of the ball movement was something we could not stop.
"The team got to experience the nature of rugby afterwards, when Tynedale cooked a meal for us, and allowed us to watch the England/Scotland match with them. Watching the kids socialize, you might have thought they were friends since birth."
Woodlands actually scored less in their second game, but walked away with the lone win of the trip. The Texans arrived at the pitch wearing cowboy hats, which drew laughter from Newcastle RGS, their second hosts. Woodlands kept the ball in tight and played a forward dominated game, so the seven points they scored were enought to down Newcastle, 7-0.
In the third game, two rivals, the Hawick Wanderers and PSA, made a select side to play the Americans, and the amalgamation won the match 29-10. In the final match of the tour against Preston, the tired Texans were escorted to the pitch by bagpipes. The fanfare could not propel The Woodlands to victory, though, as the Americans finished 1-3.
The tour was not just about rugby, as the team visited Hadrians wall, a Roman fort built in 1000 AD, Holy Island, and Feather Stone Castle. They also took in an afternoon of paintball and another of curling. And the cherry on the top was a visit to the Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland.