It's been a long day. Up at 7 to meet Pale in town to go to the village to train. An hour and a half by two buses to the terminus then a walk through one village then a kilometre across paddy fields to the training (football) pitch. 20 of them were running the length of the pitch with a ball. Hooray. Today we have a ball.
Neither Riva nor Charles was available so it was me in charge with Pale translating. Not easy taking a two and a half hour training session when they can speak only Malagasy and I can only speak English. Not that that stopped me giving instructions in my pidgin French even though they do not speak any French. Not easy training forwards and backs when you only have one ball. When I asked Pale to walk through the backs moves I had sent by email he had to do it without any ball but using his backpack given ballast by his bottle of water and my bottle of Lucozade. He did it and they were really pleased when they got the ball to practice with.
Nevertheless by the end of the session a busy time had been had:
- They now have 5 backs moves from a set piece. All basic - 10-12 scissors; blindside winger between 10 and 9; 15 cutting between 12 and 13; etc
- They now know what "put a name on it" means at restart and can apply it.
- They now know what "back 10" means and can apply it.
- They now know what "give me 5 press ups" means and will do it for failing to score against 5 defenders.
- They now know what "good tackle/rugby/defence" means and look really proud.
Pale said it was a goodish rugby training session and an excellent English lesson.
They were very keen and worked really well despite literally not understanding a word I said. We will see what happens in the final of the Christmas Cup next Sunday. I was going to writ "C'mon Tiaras" here but I should really check how to spell their name in Malagase . It means 'young pride' or 'proud young ones' which is not the translation/image of 'Tiaras' that immediately springs to mind.
At the end we walked part of the way back with six of them before we turned right to find the bus and they turned left to go cockfighting. I discussed my views on their plans but Pale was less concerned saying they did not fight to the death but only 'til one cockerel had realised it was not going to win and ran away at which point the fight was stopped. We both declined the invitation. By the time we had stopped at Pale's beautiful, spacious, minimalist flat to pick up a CD it took almost two hours to get to the café in the station for two ice cold beers Not Gurgy David but damned welcome