Perse rugby team enjoy Cambridge University training session with Japanese school side
The Perse rugby first XV linked up with their counterparts from a touring Japanese school team for a training session at Cambridge University’s ground.
The Kokoku High School rugby team from Osaka were in Cambridge as part of a trip arranged with Bluebridge Education Group, who helped set up the session along with Cambridge University.
Ahead of a match with Shelford U18, Kokoku worked with the Perse players on the Grange Road pitch before facing each other in a short game, played over three 10-minute periods.
The tourists had arrived in the country at the weekend, with the players attending Wales’ Autumn International clash with New Zealand at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
During the remainder of their visit, the Japanese side will travel to Northampton Saints, Rugby School and Twickenham before they fly home via a trip to the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens tournament.
Rugby has been played at Kokoku since 1930 and it is now aiming to become one of the top schools for the sport in Japan.
Kokoku head coach Yuichi Ito said: “We’re very thankful to have had an opportunity to train with The Perse School team.
“Playing on grass is quite rare in Japan for a lot of high school teams. We usually train on artificial pitches, so as the training progressed it became a bit heavy going on the legs for the players.
“However, it was a great privilege for the students to have the opportunity to train with The Perse and look at different techniques and different ways of training.”
Perse Head of Rugby Liam St John felt the training session had been worthwhile for both parties.
He said: “There’s a lot of history at Grange Road and it’s a great experience for the boys to come and do something different.
“The boys have bought into it and had a bit of fun. It keeps it fresh coming up against different faces.
“The Kokoku boys have been very polite and the beauty of sport is it’s a universal language. You just put a ball out and although you may be from the other side of the world, you quickly form a mutual understanding.”
Mr St John hoped the session would also give The Perse team a boost before their game against The Leys this Saturday.
He said: “There’s a real mutual respect. A lot of the boys play club rugby together and everyone is looking forward to a good, tough game to finish off the season.
“The first team have four wins from four this half term and fingers crossed, they can finish strongly on Saturday.”