Gullivers Sports Travel and Rugby World combine to give you a flavour of what it is like to go on a rugby tour – specifically, during the Six Nations
The Lions tour may be over, and the seasons looks so far away still, but do not despair. There is plenty of time to plan your next tour, for the Six Nations.
To help you make up your mind, we have joined forces with Gullivers Sports Travel to give you a little flavour of what it is like to go on a tour during the Six Nations – in 2017 they took nearly 6,000 fans to Six Nations matches, home and away. And as you may well know, Rugby World has a fine tradition of collecting the stories from tours gone by.
Gullivers get that too – indeed one of their team’s fondest recent memory came when they put on a tour for the 2014 Six Nations. Among their ranks was a stag do for the Italy versus England fixture, all of them dressed as Roman gods and made to drink pints out of their shoes. The stag, bless him, was attached to a symbolic ball and chain… These matches amongst Europe’s best bring out the best stories.
In poring over the Rugby World archive, this was strongly highlighted. Back in 1930, Bristol hooker Sam Tucker found a novel way of answering a crisis call from England. With just two hours and 20 minutes to make it to the Arms Park for a match-up against Wales, the enterprising forward convinced a pilot at Finton Aerodrome to fly him close to Cardiff and land in a field. Tucker then hitched a ride on a coal lorry for three miles, enlisted the help of a copper at the ground and made it to the changing room just five minutes before kick-off. Phew!
That is not the only close shave, though. One reader, Mark Seymour, recently shared with us a tale of his youth team travelling from Cardiff to play in Twickenham before attending the England-Wales Test, in 1986. Rattling around the back of a rickety van, they made their own game in the nick of time before two of them were given one seating ticket and told to haggle for a pair of terrace tickets at the home of English rugby. They managed to make it, too.
Our very own writer Alan Dymock has also left making a Six Nations match until the nick of time. He once got lost in Rome trying to make his was to the Stadio Olimpico before they hosted Wales. Having gone round the underground the wrong way, he made it back to Termini with just an hour to go until kick-off and with a Leviathan taxi queue in front of him.
Panic had set in and he was sweating heavily, when a hand landed on his shoulder and a Welsh voice asked: “Have you been sprinting mate?” There stood seven fans from Cardigan, all dressed as female cheerleaders. As bizarre a scene as it was, it helped. The small, cross-dressing crowd drew out some seedy looking locals who kindly offered to bypass the queue and drive the to the ground for a few euros. The group just made kick-off.
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And the final tale from our vaults comes from Martin Macari who fondly remembers one trip south for the Calcutta Cup match. On the train down, one of the group (from Edinburgh’s Watsonians club) brought out a metal briefcase… that turned out to be a portable mini bar. One blurry journey later and they were ready for some rugby. Unfortunately, though, they had a gamer to play themselves. A gentlemen’s agreement was upheld the next day at the match, until one of the travelling players bravely chased a fly-hacked kick from one end of the field to the other… only to see the ball roll dead. As he crawled off the pitch to be sick, everyone agreed his was a bad choice.
And you too can enjoy a trip to the Calcutta Cup. Just check out this competition below!
Gullivers Sports Travel is the UK’s leading rugby tour operator, so you can be guaranteed a real rugby tour experience and a great time. They are offering you the opportunity to win a package for two to the 2018 Six Nations game between Scotland and England on Saturday 24 February 2018 in Edinburgh. Enter here now!