Game day was here and our morning team run was different. We started by going to Smokey Mountain to pickup orphans to train with us. We arrived at Smokey Mountain and I have no words to describe how overwhelmed I was by the poverty. Smokey Mountain is a rubbish dump that people live on and scavenge through to find scraps of glass, plastic and metal to sell. The conditions are absolutely appalling and yet we were greeted with smiles. We stood out there playing with the kids until we were chased away by the village captain.
The kids from the orphanage came with us to Rizal park. At Rizal we played touch with them and tool photos. It really put in perspective the contrast between Filipinos. On the one hand are the well off and very westernized middle and upper class and on the other is the extreme poverty and chaos of a third world country. I am proud of everything Filipino but this experience put a new perspective on things.
That evening we headed to the International School of Manila for a trial match against Hong Kong. The game was a little weird because it was four quarters and in each quarter we had a different team. I captained the second quarter and out combination did not do that well. It was difficult to get scored on and the Hong Kong team was very clinical. During the third period I took a good hit up but while being tackled I dislocated my kneecap. That was the end of my match. The trial as a whole showed the lads, new and old, the steps that we are going to need to take be competitive with the big nations in Asia.
Personally, I played alright. I gave up a penalty for a late shot that I’m not proud of. I thought I did some good things but I wasn’t really happy with my scrummaging, I’ve got to work a little harder on my technique & a bit of size wouldn’t hurt.