Tours 5 of 9

5. Touring

A landmark in the history of any rugby club is its first tour. Vandals aimed very high for their South Wales at Easter 1936, with matches against Pontypridd, Mountain Ash and Glamorgan Wanderers. In the event Vandals lost all three matches but their lively, open play won them the appreciation of three sizeable crowds.

This fearless attitude to touring continues today. Vandals are able to boast one of the most exotic lists of touring destinations for any club let alone a provincial side. Tour destinations in recent years have included Barbados, South Africa, Argentina & Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Romania, Manila & Hong Kong, Canada, Belgium, Malta and Estonia!

1992 saw 'The Vandals' flying to South Africa where they were the first UK rugby side to tour after the fall of Apartheid. In 1996, we were one of the first UK sides to visit the newly liberated Romania. With 'The Vandals' viewed as foreign celebrities, our match against a local side was covered on television and was followed by an official dinner at the Military Academy in Bucharest. Apparently, the game was subsequently broadcast in New Zealand!

In 1997, we travelled to Manila to compete in the Jardine-Schindler Manila 10's. Vandals more than acquitted themselves against experienced opposition (including a Waikato touring side) by winning the plate competition, before travelling on to compete in the world famous Hong Kong 10's. After that a few days were spent relaxing in Hong Kong at the Rugby 7's World Cup.

In 2000, we visited Brussels, whilst 2001 saw the 'Owls' travelling to Malta. In 2002 the club travelled to the historic mediaeval city of Tallin, capital of Estonia, where we entered two sides in the Tallinn 10's competition. Needless to say an excellent time was had by all!

In May 2003 - we travelled to the South of France rugby-stronghold of Biarritz with a party of 24 players. Whilst there, we played against local side, Tripaundiak (Literally 'The fat stomachs') from Bayonne.

2004 saw a temporary departure from foreign touring with a four day trip during May to York to sample some Northern Culture! 37 Tourist spent 4 days, with some serious hardcore Touring undertaken! See the York Tour report for more details.

For 2005's Tour we were the first foreign side to visit the Mediterranean island of Menorca. With a touring party of 44, Vandals managed to outnumber the 2005 Lions tour! See the Menorca Tour report for details of a fantastic long weekend