Souths thwart French resistance

NL3 side South London Storm contested a thrilling 22-all draw with reigning Nacional 3 champions Villeneuve Tolosane XIII on their annual tour of France. Souths have made the pilgrimige to the South of France for three consecutive years and were again rewarded with the best in Treiziste hospitality. Old foes Realmont XIII treated the tourists to a lavish reception on Friday night, whilst a sizeable crowd was in attendance on Saturday evening for the cross-chanell NL3 encounter. The game itself was extremely well-contested, with victory narrowly eluding Souths when John Ferguson failed to land a last minute penalty that would have edged his side in front. Storm led 18-6 at half-time, courtesy of tries from Andrew Jackson (two) and Mark Nesbitt, but were forced to weather a fierce comeback from the home side after the break. Carlos Zacharov scored the try of the match with the 10 minutes remaining to edge the Londoners agonisingly close to their first ever victory on foreign soil, but Ferguson's late miss allowed the game to end in what was ultimately a fitting draw. Souths rounded off their trip by attending Sunday afternoon's France-Australia Test match, and tour organiser Richard Giles was delighted by the success of the club's third journey across Le Manche. "The reception we have received from our friends at Realmont and Villeneuve Tolosane has been phenomenal," said Giles. "After our three trips to France as well as our tour to Australia earlier this year, Souths are building a real reputation as a touring side and I'm sure that will continue in the future. I doubt there are many clubs in the world that have clocked the number of air miles we have in recent years!" The tour was an emotional occasion for club stalwart Darrin Cornall, who returns to Australia next month in order get married following several years loyal service both on and off the pitch. "Darrin has been a great ambassador for the club in the past few years and will be sadly missed," added Giles. For further information about South London Storm's 2004 French tour, contact Richard Giles (richard.giles@rbs.co.uk or 07740282702).

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