We arrived in Mongolia on Monday 12th August, before embarking on a 3 day trip to the Gobi desert where we stayed in traditional Mongolian gers and participated in camel and horse riding, as well as visiting the ancient Mongolian capital of Kharakhorin. After that we moved back to the capital, Ulaanbataar. Our first game was on the Saturday (17th) against Defense University, one of the four club sides in Mongolia. Hertford started strongly going 3-0 up courtesy of the boot of Will Dace within the first minute, but Defense University soon developed a hold on the game, with consistent pressure resulting in a converted penalty try, followed by a converted try to put Defense University 14-3 in the lead which is how the half ended. Hertford were showing plenty of endeavour, just a lack of execution. The second half breathed new life into Hertford, with the balance of play swinging to their favour. This was reflected on the scoreboard when Harry Horner took a quick tap penalty to take the defence unaware and crash over for the try, which was subsequently converted by Will Dace to take the score to 14-10. Hertford continued to put the pressure on, with another score seeming on the cards. After one try was ruled out for a forward pass, Hertford finally got another try courtesy of Henry Hughes within the last 10 minutes, taking the score to 15-14 after an unsuccessful conversion from Will Dace. With less than 10 minutes left, Hertford seemed destined for a debut tour win, only for the Mongolians to break down the flank inside the 75th minute, touching down under the posts to leave an easy conversion and the score at 21-15. This was how it stayed despite Hertford piling on the pressure in the last five, seeing a close game edge the way of Defense University. We subsequently went and had dinner and a few drinks at a local bar with the Mongolians, with Hertford proceeding to win the much coveted boat race.
Sunday and Monday were used as recovery and tourism days, with everyone getting a chance to look around the city and get some much needed rest. On Tuesday (20th) we went to visit an orphanage in Mongolia (Lotus Children Centre) where we spent over an hour entertaining the kids and teaching (trying to) them a bit of rugby. We also brought gifts (colouring pencils, books, soft toys, sweets, and a rugby ball and cricket set) to leave for the kids. Today (Wednesday) saw us participate in a round robin 7s tournament with the four main sides in Mongolia, winning three and losing one to come second overall: Pioneer Wolves 24-12, Khaan Uul 14-12, Lions 10-17, Ulaanbataar Warriors 22-12 It was all played in good spirits and the Mongolians seem to be really enjoying our presence here.
Tomorrow (Thursday) is a rest day with a trip to a cashmere factory. This will be followed by our last game against Ulaanbataar Warriors on Friday. KO 12.00 (English time) and will be broadcast live on Mongolian TV. You can view it via the following link: