What Goes on Tour Stays on Tour

Teddington under 12s “Coming of Age” Tour to Toulouse, 8th February 2008

The majority of our travelling party of 21 children and 20 adults arrived at Gatwick Airport on Friday morning by 5.15am. Although we were bleary eyed after the early start, we were cheered by the arrival of the club chairman, in presidential style, and only half an hour late, having been driven down from Teddington by the slowest of chauffeurs – just can’t get the staff these days!

After a pleasingly uneventful flight we arrived at the Hotel IBIS, Toulouse. Relations with the management improved when we clarified the sleeping arrangements, explaining that the boys would not be sharing with each other but rather their respective parents. Training took place on a small grassy area between Toulouse’s main gyratory system and the canal. No matter, the sun was shining, and we were on tour.

The focus was on the subtleties of playing rugby the French way. Details were a little sketchy but the key principle to emerge from our home made translation of the French continuum, was the emphasis on "opening the door" for one’s teammates. Accordingly the boys practiced drawing defenders and passing from the tackle - generally keeping the ball alive and trying to create space for others to exploit. The rules of rugby French style are explicitly designed to promote a running game. 10 players a side, no contested scrums or lineout’s, penalties took the form of a tap taken by the ref and passed to the aggrieved team. The "gap" between attack and defence was only 3 metres - handling skills and spatial awareness were to be at a premium. Little did we know at this point just how different the "French" game of rugby was going to be?

After a quick shower, we assembled for a pre-dinner presentation. John Gardiner spoke of each boy's special qualities and urged them to respect our hosts, and behave appropriately as representatives of their team, their club and their country. We are happy to report that these standards were upheld at all times. Mike Lightfoot, head coach, then spoke about their individual contributions, before club chairman Kevin Day presented each boy, one by one, with their own tour shirts. These shirts were accepted with universal applause from their teammates and assembled parents - top moment.

We assembled bright and early on Saturday morning for the trip to Balma Olympique - our hosts for a triangular tournament with FCTT. (Football Club Toulousain -L'ELITE AMATEUR. ) Once again we were blessed with bright blue skies, a superb municipal venue, and more than amiable hosts. After a rendition of the La Marseillaise and Swing Low, Teddington Lions took on the red and white of Balma A.

While Teddington had the early territorial advantage, their failure to "unlock the door" of the opposition defence was costly. Balma had several strong runners and it was only a matter of time before they eluded the Teddington rear guard. A try saving tackle from Will Strange could not prevent the inevitable, and Balma ran in 3 tries before half time. There being no conversions the score was 15 - 0.

The second half began very differently, a spirited come back by Teddington brought some fantastic running rugby and three unanswered tries: one each from James Frankenberger, Akira Takenaka and Will Strange. Balma then brought back some of the players used in the first half and scored twice more to run out 25 - 15 winners.

The second encounter saw Teddington Tigers take on FCTT's first team. FCTT with their striking black strip and exotic sponsors logos are a very ambitious club. They brought a side full of strong runners, but one of their backs stood out above all others. At 13 years old he had already been offered a contract with the academy at Stade Toulousain. Despite Teddington's best efforts, FCTT ran in eight unanswered tries. The older boys from FCTT gave a real exhibition of rugby played the French way, and, while disappointed to lose, the Teddington boys were sure they had played against at least one future French star.

The Teddington Lions then took on the formidable FCTT A team. The result was again a resounding 12 tries to 1 victory for FCTT. Max Peel scored to lone Teddington try, but respect was shared after the game when FCTT learned that Teddington were an under 12 side.

Teddington Tigers then played FCTT B. An exceptional performance from James Khan - who scored two tries, with another coming from Dara meant the game was drawn with three tries each. This was a fair result and a thrilling game for the assembled "crowd".

In our final fixture of the day, Teddington Tigers took on Balma B. Another exceptional performance from James Khan (two tries) and Harry Lightfoot-Brown (2 tries) meant victory for Teddington by 4 tries to 3.

Despite the score lines, a memorable, if challenging, morning's rugby, played in good spirit, culminated with lunch, and presentations in the club house. Balma Olympique’ Coach Franck made a speech and we exchanged gifts of shirts and pennants. The morning was also a great success due to the enthusiastic help of Mags a lone Ireland supporter in a sea of French Rugby! Perhaps the highlight of the day came when 5 Teddington lads were seen (unprompted) speaking with their opponents in the club house (Sam Lewis, Harry L-B, Max, Henry Ellender, and Dara deserve special mention).

The afternoon was spent in various hostelries in Toulouse watching Six Nations games. The Welsh contingent in our party formed a splinter group for the Wales / Scotland game while others focussed on the late afternoon fixture between France and Ireland. The French national side won in impressive style with a display of the kind of fast flowing running rugby that is clearly instilled from a young age. All four tries were scored by Stade Toulousain players - 3 from super fast winger Vincent Clerc - happy days for the many local fans watching with us.

Sunday was a replay of Saturday - bright sunshine and this time a coach journey through some beautiful French countryside as we headed for Beaumont de Lomagne. The club has a very proud history, not least as the starting place for Jean-Pierre Rive's rugby career. After training with the French boys we had the pleasure of hearing the club president address the first fifteen ahead of their match with bitter local rivals -Bon chance Beaumont! The lead coaches of Beaumont, Mike Craig and Monsieur Pilot, took the Teddington boys and coached them for one hour on some French insights. Mike Lightfoot and his team of coaches took the sixteen French boys and coached them with perfect Franglais on some useful handling drills and the boys responded well! The morning was finished with a non contact game aimed at keeping the ball alive with plenty of offloads.

Lunch proved a real highlight, lasting fully two hours. We were treated to wine, pizza and quiche on the patio, before sitting down inside to three courses. Presentations were made and photos taken for the local press.
Another coach journey through stunning countryside brought us to St Clar. The boys were to play our morning hosts, Beaumont, as a curtain raiser for St Clar's first team league fixture

Teddington Tigers suffered a nine try to nil defeat. All the tries followed a familiar pattern of Teddington runner taking contact unsupported, promptly losing possession, allowing a French break-away try.

On the other side of the pitch, Teddington Lions took on Beaumont A. Here the score ended 12 – 6 in Beaumont’s favour. Akira Takenaka scored 3, and Erik Day, Alex and Harry Griffith one a-piece. At least England managed to hold on to defeat Italy in the final Six Nations fixture of the weekend, while the St Clar first fifteen won their match convincingly.

As we said our goodbyes and extended an invitation for our Beaumont hosts to come to Teddington next year, several players and parents were heard to question the logic of returning home and leaving the sun kissed French countryside (and the bar) behind us.

Although the weekend’s results were not what we would have wished for, the opposition was very strong and in most cases much older, the tour was a very big learning experience for all the boys. One big advantage of having fewer players on the pitch at one time is that everyone saw their full share of the action. So it was a tired and bruised party that finally headed back to Toulouse airport, a few Euros lighter but with some great memories of places visited, and friendships made.


From the Touchline

Muddy Team

Administration and Organisation

1. To play Rugby for fun, friendship and success
2. Field 2 strong teams on a regular basis.
3. To do our best in all tournaments.
4. Develop ourselves and players in readiness for Youth Rugby
5. Recruit New Players in readiness for Youth Rugby

Structure of the Season

Structure of the Sunday Session- Imber Court

09.30 - 10.00 Game of Touch and Stretching
10.00 - 10.30 Fitness and Break
10.30 - 11.30 Drills x 2
11.30 - 12.00 Games involving Contact

Structure of a Midweek Session

6.00 - 6.15 Warm Up/ Stretches
6.15 - 6.30 Game
6.30 - 6.50 Drill
6.50 - 7.10 Game
7.10 - 7.15 Warm Down




Key Matches



Learn new elements of the game.
Basics – Passing/Defence/Rucking/Mauling
New and Existing players Tackling for all – Week 1

Richmond Play Under 13s?

Mix up players and teams week1.
Assess Individuals for squad selection.


Communication and teamwork
Basics –Rucking

Festivals  -Cobham

Try new team changes


Basics - Running and Passing

Middlesex R1
Quins CR Cup r1?
Cobham C
Hove (A)

Sell Xmas cards


Basics – Defence/Tackling

London Welsh



Basics – Moves/Passing

Assess Squads
Tri Counties Fixture

Run a fundraising event


Squad Training

Festivals (BC)



Squad Training

Festivals (ABC)
Middlesex Cup



Training and fun

Tour  and Festivals


From week to week we may add or move elements around.

Mini Rugby with contact

13 a-side - 6 forwards, 7 backs. Squad sizes are set by festival organisers, but not less that 17 players.

Laws of the Game apply in all respects except:

  • Scrum - 3 player front row and 2 second row locks binding around hips.
  • Offside Line (Scrum) - Scrum half alongside opposing scrum half but cannot move beyond the mid line of the scrum until the ball is out of the scrum.
  • Line Out (Contested) - 2-4 players line out between 2 metres and 10 metres from the touchline, 5th player throws in. Quick throw in NOT allowed. Lifting is not permitted.
  • Offside Line (Line Out) - 10 metres from line of touch.
  • Drop kicks to start/restart game. Kicking from hand permitted. Tries converted
  • No hand offs, fend offs, scrag tackles or barging.

Coaches and Contact Details

Manager & Lead Coach

Mike Lightfoot
305 Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, Middx, TW1 4SU
020 8287 8974 or 0784 328 0406


Huw Griffith-Jones
52 Gloucester Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, KT1 3RB
0778 750 0925