On Sunday 22nd August the England and Italy U18 rugby teams faced each other at Millfield School for their first international game in two years.
Despite a strong start for England leading 7-0 within the first two minutes after a try from Will Gilderson and a conversion from Millfield sixth-form student Sam Harris, Italy soon found their rhythm ending the first half with a 19-7 lead.
A successful penalty by England’s Sam Worsley narrowed the gap but Italy continued to dominate with Sante gaining another three points off the tee followed by a try from Prop Bernardinello.
In an impressive fight to the end, England were rewarded with a second try from Gilderson, converted by Worsley, however, it wasn’t enough to secure a win, with a remarkable performance from Italy throughout ending in a 27-17 win.
The two teams decided to come together to provide a development opportunity for their players with Italy travelling to Somerset to join England at Millfield for a training camp alongside a match between the two teams.
The match took place on the Sir Gareth Edwards Pitch which first opened in 1977 as the Jubilee Pitch in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The opening match on the pitch was between the 1st XV and a Headmaster’s XV, which included then former rugby legend Gareth Edwards. It was renamed the Sir Gareth Edwards Pitch in 2011. The pitch is a high standard natural pitch, which is 100 metres by 62 metres and is maintained by a team of experienced grounds staff.
Other facilities used for the training camps included practice pitches, the fitness suite with a range of strength training and cardiovascular equipment and the 50m swimming pool for recovery sessions. Another part of the bespoke package, which was created by Millfield Enterprises, the department responsible for maximising the use of the school’s extensive facilities during the school holidays, included on-site accommodation with spaces provided for physiotherapy sessions, meals prepared by the experienced in-house catering team and a dedicated Events Co-ordinator for the duration of their stay.
Having hosted events at both national and international levels, Millfield Enterprises are experienced in providing personalised packages and the wide range of facilities available makes Millfield an ideal location for sports camps. Alongside numerous indoor facilities including state of the art golf and cricket centres, the 50m swimming pool and fitness suites, Millfield can provide areas for analysis sessions and social events, plus outdoor pitches looked after by the professional grounds team, with all facilities within a short distance of each other.
Other groups choosing Millfield for training camps this summer include Cricket Ireland and the British Virgin Island's national football team. Millfield also hosted the England and Wales Home Nations Hockey U16s and U18s trials this summer, which included use of the water-based astros and full board accommodation.
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