We arrange early morning calls for 8.30am and everyone is down for breakfast by 9am. All seem well. The injured players seem to be on the mend.
We enjoy another fantastic breakfast, check out of our hotel by 10am. We take the cases to a room that has been reserved for us. It has showers and a supply of towels so that our group can enjoy the water park attached to the hotel that opens at 10am.
When it opens many of the group make use of the sailing boats or canoes and go out on the lake, others stay around the pool and sunbathe (yes, it may be winter but it’s still 23C). Others go in the spa pool which is very warm. A few go in the pool, but it’s not heated and is relatively cold.
The girls only have an hour before they are to travel to their billeting school, James Nash High School which is about an hour and a half drive away in Gympie. They are due to play the netball game there at 2pm. We wave them off and tell them that we’ll miss them. “We’ll miss you too sir.”
The boys are due to depart at 1pm. On the lagoon, there’s a series of water slides and other similar things. It’s not open because it’s winter and there’s no demand for it. However, our lads go over and spend an hour enjoying ‘a bit of fun.’
We leave the resort, which has looked after us fantastically well at 1pm and travel to Mooloolaba which is a wealthy town on a beautiful stretch of coastline. The lads have an hour to walk along the seafront and get something for lunch. Most enjoy a pizza, although some are a little late arriving and have to be taken back and eaten on the bus.
We travel to our billeting school, Sunshine Coast Grammar School and arrive just before 3pm. It’s set in fantastic environs. We drive up the school drive which is built over a lake and are met by a young girl Maddie, who is to escort us to the rugby oval and sports hall where we are to meet our billets. The Head of rugby Dan Robotham meets us there. School finishes at 3.15pm and the students meet their billets as they walk from lessons.
Most are in pairs, although four are in singles. Dan tells me the host families are all nice and there won’t be any issues. They had had more wishing to host billet than we had pairs, so they had had to share them out slightly. I check with Aled, Max, Rhys Baker and Ethan Harris that they are comfortable to be on their own and they all are fine.
We wait behind for half an hour and most of the lads leave with their billet. About 10 stay back at the school whilst their billet plays in a touch rugby tournament that is taking place at the school.
We take a taxi back to our accommodation and arrive there just before 5pm. It is a relief to be able to relatively relax with someone else looking after our charges. We wash and freshen up ready to go out for a meal with Dan and some of the other staff from the school. We go to a Thai restaurant which is only a 5 minute walk and enjoy a relaxed meal and chat with our hosts. There school has a proud tradition in rugby and has won the regional championships for the last five years. Their half backs are the current Aussie schools half backs. Clearly we face a tough challenge tomorrow which will be a great way to end the tour.
News filters back from Gympie. The girls lost the netball 27-15.
We are back at our accommodation by 10pm and with no students to worry about are able to go straight to bed. The coach is due to collect us at 8am tomorrow to take us to school to meet the lads.
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