COMMONWEALTH CUP 2006
A Diary from South Africa The Arrival The RN Rugby team set to compete in the Commonwealth Cup safely arrived in Cape Town on the overnight South African Airways flight from Heathrow on Saturday 30 September 2006. All aspects of the travel went extremely well and the only cause for concern was when the baggage desk at Heathrow informed the TSG that the charge for excess baggage would be £11,000! Fortunately careful negotiation had taken place in advance and the charges were waived. The excess was not because the players had over packed but was all of the kit that was so kindly donated for the 'Kit for Kids' appeal. Donations came into the Armed Forces Careers Offices from all over the Country and in addition to this a generous donation from the rugby sportswear specialists KooGa made the haul a magnificent 600 shirts. Added to this boots and balls which had also been gifted and it is not difficult to see why the airport staff at the check in were staggered. Once the players were through passport control and the required 'donations certificate' presented to the customs officials Mike Connolly and Sid Cole could tick one of the 'actions complete' boxes but it wasn't until they had suffered a little in the interim. Once settled into the accommodation in Simons Town the team very quickly prepared for their introduction to rugby in South Africa and a visit to Newlands Rugby Ground for the quarter final of the Currie Cup. Cape Town is slowly emerging from a cool spring and as summer quickly approaches the rugby season is set to finish. The culmination of the domestic season is the final of the Currie Cup. Lt Col Bryan Sterne RSAA Rtd has had a helping hand and guided our management team through the intricacies of our visit to South Africa and it was through him that the whole squad and staff were able to go and see the game between Western Province and Griquas for a staggering £3 a head. The standard of rugby on view would rival many of the first class fixtures in the UK and was a played in cauldron of excitement and dedicated support. In the end the Griguas were roundly beaten but all that Western Province have to look forward to is a semi final away against the Blue Bulls of Pretoria who are the Tournament favourites. The RN players depart the home of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final with lots of talk about how they would love to see the Lions play here during the 2008 Tour but there are rugby matters closer to home that need to be addressed first. More pictures from the tour in the gallery.