Sports

The joy of rugby travel



It’s not easy being The Late News – by the time you get a crack, everyone else knows better.

I know it’s partly the location in the middle of nowhere, but there’s more to it than that. Take The News Lady for example. Let’s call her the First Edition News, because she already knows, and it’s clearly and obviously her job to tell me so.

Anyway our considerably smaller version of News Corporation than the one you were first thinking of are rugby tourists.

News Corporation’s first memorable rugby tour was to Melbourne to watch the first-ever trial match between the newly minted Western Force and a couple of Kiwi teams that had crossed the ditch (presumably the Kiwis didn’t know where Perth was).

Anyway we drove over the Nullabor with the (then) rug rats, stopped off at a few points of interest along the way (read: Adelaide Hills and Coonawarra wineries) and arrived in the big smoke.

We were greeted on arrival by the Melbourne weather, but it was great. Duly lost both matches but the presence of a handful of Force supporters, one in particular quite vocal, was noted.

The trip home was long and wearying, but that’s part of it, right?

The second tour was to windy Wellington, with a long walk from the centre of town in an ocean of yellow. The blue jerseys really stuck out that night! After an expected loss and the appearance of the yellow bi plane at halftime, and a few more wineries, we came back happy.

The third tour was a solo gig by the former Lady News who braved the Canberra frost one Friday night. Nearly lost a finger or two to frost bite I’m told. Yeah, we lost again.

Memory fails me a little after that. We were present at Jade Stadium for the last Bledisloe before the awful earthquake at Christchurch, jagging a couple of last-minute corporate hospitality tickets and had the mad rush across the country and then the ditch.

There must have been a couple of thousand All Black supporters in the marquee that night, then in walks a gold-clad News Corporation amidst the lubricated throng. We got a rousing reception, though not so positive from memory! Yay we lost, again.

Next trip was to Twickenham, where we saw Wasps vs Harlequins and London Irish vs Saracens (from memory). Magic night out. Effin freezing, and Associated News and I managed to drink the entire stadium out of rum. Seriously! Who were the caterers? We had to make the urgent and difficult decision to drink scotch for the second half of the last match, but we needed the anti freeze!

Then the memorable trip to Cardiff. We were staying with good friends in Exeter and headed off up the road on the Saturday morning with them telling us “ÿou won’t make it in time!” What rot, we arrived around 4 for a kick off at 6.

The singing was tremendous, and the regimental goat? WTF? Anyway, unusually for us, we witnessed a Wallaby win! You beauty!

Last but not least was the boys’ trip to Auckland for another Bledislo – the last one before the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand; they pulled down the north grandstand after this match.

We secured tickets on the Thursday afternoon, then dashed to Auckland across the continent, ditch and a few time zones, but made it in time.

Teeming with rain of course as only New Zealand knows how, we lost again. Many memories from that trip, none of which sadly I can put down in writing as the protagonists remain happily alive! 

Covid has reduced our ability to travel – firstly to Perth, then anywhere else. No doubt there are more tours to come. 

So how do I summarise? We usually lose, but being there in the crowd is what it’s all about!



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