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“What goes on tour…”: Rugby World and Gullivers on the art of rugby touring

Tour on!: Some fans enjoy the full experience from Gullivers Sports Travel Rugby World

Gullivers Sports Travel and Rugby World combine to give you a flavour of what it is like to go on a rugby tour


As the dust settles on a another epic British & Irish Lions tour, the good folks at Gullivers Sports Travel have joined up with Rugby World to reflect on the joys of touring.

Lions tours are notorious for providing the players with opportunities to enjoy themselves – something anyone who has seen the 1997 Living with Lions can appreciate. There have been plenty of notable Lions tour tales through the years.

Many will have heard of the 1974 tour when the Lions set about trashing their hotel in Port Elizabeth (a theme of that trip to South Africa). When a ruffled hotel manager confronted skipper Willie John McBride about it, the famous lock asked: “Are there many dead?” When the managers replied that he had called the cops, Ulsterman McBride took a puff from his pipe and calmly replied: “And tell me, these police of yours, will there be many of them?”

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That trip was also famous for stories of trips to a Lion-infested Kruger National Park, but there are so many other tales from tours gone by. Rugby World recently ran a feature using the yarns of loveable 1959 tourist Terry Davies, who encountered a pint-swilling, cigarette-devouring goat in a Timaru pub. Australia has seen plenty of action too. Later in the week we will give you a selection of famous tour tales.

Forgetting the players, though, Lions tours come alive because of the participation of the fans. And because Gullivers are more than just a travel company that provides a bed and a route to games, they appreciate that it is all about the full experience – that means sampling the local beer, getting out of the major cities where games are, talking to locals and really getting a feel for rugby in another country.

Crew with a view: The Lions squad also saw the best of Queenstown Rugby World

Want an example of this? Well on the recent provincial legs of the tour, Gullivers tour manager Rob McGeever wrote of his crew’s trip to the picturesque ski resort of Queenstown, between games: “This is where a lot of our clients took the opportunity to relax in the mountainous surroundings, take a scenic cruise to Milford Sound, or take a ride on the powerful speedboat on the Shotover River. Queenstown has more bars per square foot than any other place in the world so we were not short of a watering hole. If they didn’t think the weather was cold enough, we took our clients to a local Ice Bar!”

Rugby World’s crack team of reporters on the ground in New Zealand can testify to the variety of activities available on tour – one almost fell out of a whitewater rapid boat in Rotorua, one got sprayed testing out an Americas Cup sailing boat in Auckland, and all three dived in on vineyard tours through the country! Gullivers have the inside track on moments like these.

You see, it’s all about the little extras on a trip. indeed, if you check out the current issue of Rugby World, you will see a tale from two Gullivers tourists, Kev and Sue Ellwood, who got married on tour in 2005 and returned for their 12-year anniversary. Talk about a memorable journey.

Of course it is not all about Lions tours. So below is a chance for you to get involved in a special tour of your own, living it up on the wekend of one of rugby’s most famous clashes. And later this week we will give you some of the best tour tales from the Six Nations.

See it in the flesh: Gullivers offer you the chance to see a Calcutta Cup clash on tour Rugby World

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!

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