RNRU Women's South Africa Tour Diary

The RNRU Women are embarking on their first ever overseas tour, with the destination being South Africa. Different Tourists will update the Diary every day for a snapshot of life on tour. 

Not only have the RNRU Women made history playing at Twickenham on Saturday 30th April, they now make make history once again as they embark on the first ever RNRU Women overseas tour with a mix of both representative and development players. 

Tour Day 7 - Match day in Langa - LH Rose Dixon, Outside Centre, RNRU Women's Captain

After a well deserved lie in, the team boarded the bus to Langa, a local township that was dubbed a ‘sporting township’ in the 1940s and 1950s . Here, we took a tour and visited the art centre to purchase prints, paintings and jewellery from local artists. We then visited the museum in the old court house where we learned more about the history of the of Apartheid as well as the Langa sporting history, where back in the day sport was played in the streets, open areas and fields. Whilst also being a rugby township, Cricket and Soccer are also popular sports here (we all know Rugby’s the real winner). The tour was humbling and emotional, it made us all feel so grateful for what we have in life and the realisation that so many struggle for basic necessities was a tough.

Lunch time came and Shiela, our fabulous host, cooked some incredible scran and we ate whilst listening to some live traditional African music. We got involved in playing the music but I can’t honourably say it was 100% in time or very good, but we did our best. We then played a hard fought match and took some big hits against the Busy Bee’s of Langa who came out victorious (they have bred many a Springbok player) after dining with our opposition we sang, drank and ate for the rest of the evening.

Tour Day 6 - Cultural Climbing - Lt Cheryl Goodwin, Out Half

After a normal training session in extraordinary surroundings, some friends and I started an intentionally less chaotic day by visiting the Bo-Kaap district and the colourful houses. The houses were painted to represent the freedom of slavery from the Dutch 1834, where previously slaves were leased houses which were only allowed to be painted white. On completion, our fearless tour guide (Sondack) convinced us to walk through a neighbourhood and directly up a mountain to visit the noon gun. As the crow flies this should have taken 20 mins but due to a large gradient we took a mere 2 hours. Forever closed to the public the noon gun was shut, but we used some matelot initiative and did achieve our mission before heading back down the hill to a bar (more matelot initiative).

Other members of the tour enjoyed a day surfing, the beach and secret rooftop bars.

Nothing else chaotic happened for the rest of the day because we have a game tomorrow.

Tour day 5 - Train and Surf - Logs(SC) Grace Penn, Forward

The 5th day of tour started with a very sweaty training session under the beautiful Table Mountain. It’s crazy to think that these are the views we are lucky enough to train here with, it’s usually just a busy road or a pitch in the middle of a park back home. The entire team put in a cracking shift on the training paddock under the beating sun in preparation for our upcoming game against Busy Bees. Myself and 6 of the girls headed to the other side of Cape Town to Muizenberg to hit a beach, we then decided to dodge the sharks and have a go at surfing. Turns out I’m not the best at it but it was great fun and the water wasn’t too cold. The rest of the tour topped up their tan and showed off our cracking stash.

Tour day 3 - The Stellenbosch experience - Sarah Jenkins, Coach

Today the sun was shining for the ladies first game of the tour, against Stellenbosch university. The first game of the day saw the senior side playing 10s against a very well drilled team that are yet to start their 15 aside season. Stellenbosch showed their pace and strength by scoring a few tries early on. Once the 10s game was completed both teams mixed together and played 15 minutes of some great 15 aside rugby. Hosted by Stellenbosch the squad enjoyed a traditional South African barbecue to complete a wonderful day.

Tour day 0 - The Tourists Fly From Heathrow - CPO Billi Staite, Winger

It was a seemingly very quick turnaround after our first ever outing at Twickenham but it was great to be back with the girls again as we all met at Heathrow T5 for another first for Women's Navy Rugby (This tour!).

Some how we we all made it through security without any hiccups and we were unleashed to roam free around T5, not even our tour Bingo rep Abi Sondack could hold us together. The flight was packed, so full in fact that the eldest tourists, Alan (Fixtures Secretary) and Rob (Director of Rugby) were somehow upgraded to 1st class, we were exceptionally envious. All was forgiven after the flight when Abi Sondack and I were allowed into the cockpit (the Air Engineering geeks!) We were very thankful to the crew on the British Airways flight who had helped make the start of my tour so memorable. On arrival we were whisked off to our beautiful scenic hotel in Cape Town, but rugby is on our mind as we will be hosted by Gardens RFC tomorrow night and we're looking forward to pizzas and an introduction to the Kenya national team who are training there.

Tour day (minus) 1 - Advance Party Recce - Lt Loz Salisbury, Women's Head Coach

Today has been a busy but sunny day for the advanced party in South Africa. After testing the breakfast options at the hotel, we were on the road early to check out all of the playing locations booked across the next 2 weeks. Starting with Busy Bees in Langa, the township outreach programme is now confirmed and the locals are all very excited to meet the ladies. We then moved onto meet the Stellenbosch Maties who will host the first game of our time here in South Africa, and finally finished with False Bay who will support our last fixture before we fly home a few days later. Having now visited the locations and met the staff, all of the final plans are now in place ready for the Tour Party to join us in a few days time. A successful day all round!!!

Tour day (minus) 2 - Advance Party depart - Lt Cdr Jane West, Tour Leader Director of Community Rugby

Along with Women's Head Coach, Lt Loz Salisbury, I made up the tour advance party. With no time to spare after the Women's historic first match at Twickenham we were on a plane to South Africa to embark on 'advance party' duties prior to the main party arrival on the 5th of May. We landed in Cape Town International at 1120 local time and due to the lack of time zone difference there wasn't too much Jet Lag.  We had thought we had consider all eventualities, but it turns out we missed a big one... we hadn’t planned on being on the same flight as the South African legend that is Bryan Habana, one of the fastest men in the history of Rugby Union.  I am not one to miss an opportunity so with careful navigation of First Class seating, I managed to spend 15 mins talking rugby with Bryan before heading back to wake Loz up so we could seize the opportunity for a photo to mark the start of what is set to be a fantastic tour.