Meet experienced tourist Wayne Gadsby, who has picked up firm friends through his travels with Gullivers
Lasting Friendships Made On Rugby Tour With Gullivers
TOURING IS one of rugby’s most treasured aspects. And when Rugby World Cup 2019™ kicks off in Japan in September, there will be one experienced traveller amongst the happy throng.
“My first tour with Gullivers was actually in 1997, to South Africa for the Lions tour,” says Wayne Gadsby. “I’ve been on every Gullivers tour since then. I’ve been on six Lions tours!”
Which all sounds so dedicated. According to the Leicester Tigers fan, he first headed out on tour with Gullivers as they were the only show in town. However, over the years, as competition in the rugby tour market has increased, he has had “no reason to go elsewhere.”
However there is another aspect of Gadsby’s touring ethos that stands out: his readiness to make new friends.
Back in 1997, at 24, Gadsby headed out on his own, willing to share a room with anyone else on tour. Through this ‘love rugby, will travel’ approach, he has made steadfast friends in all four Home Nations.
On tour in Australia he met Paul Trinder. By the time the Lions were in New Zealand they were rooming together and during Rugby World Cup 2019™ they will share the adventure together.
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“We just hit it off,” Gadsby says of his friendship with Trinder. “When we first met, I was staying with another chap and Paul was in a single room. But by the next tour he got in touch and said if we wanted to save a bit of money we could share a room.
“We carried on and next year we’re doing Japan.
“We meet up now and again in the season – he lives down Cardiff way so whenever Leicester are playing round there – and we’ve kept up a friendship. I’ve got other friends who are Leicester season ticket holders and in 2009, I shared with one of them. And the last time round, in New Zealand, when I was sharing with Paul, some Leicester supporters came with us.”
What Gadsby appreciated about touring with Gullivers is the level of detail put into planning itineraries and the calm, methodical way the group handle the inevitable bumps of touring. He tells one story of how, in 2009, when a mate’s bag never arrived in Durban, the tour group leader calmly went off to handle the issue. The next day the bag was waiting in their bedroom.
Like so many Lions aficionados and lifelong England fans, Gadsby knows an awful lot about the familiar tour destinations: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. However, Japan presents a whole new perspective.
“In essence it’s nice not to know too much about it!” Gadsby admits. “Paul and I have signed up for a lot of excursions.
“I’ll probably do a little research before, but it will be nice to see something fresh that we’ve not seen before. Japan is a bit of the unknown and I’m excited about that. For example, I’d love to see sumo wrestling. Something I may never see again. Whilst you’re over there you want to cram in as much as you can.”
And what do you expect from the hosts?
“I think they’ll surprise a few people because they’ll be well drilled going in. That cloud of mystery surrounded them will surprise people. If the home crowd get into it, it’s infectious.
“Of course, if England were eighth in world, we would still go. But we want them to do well. I think Eddie Jones will get them to the semi-finals.
“Even if they don’t, the excitement behind it all and being able to mix with the locals in Japan will be great.”
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