Brazil Rugby Tour
Rugby Club Zurich has a tradition to go on tour every Easter, typically to a city around Europe like Berlin, Edinburgh, London or Stockholm, but in 2002 the club decided to go big and head to Brazil. Some 35 team mates signed up for the tour and our trip was for around 2 1/2 weeks with three matches planned in Rio de Janiero and in Sao Paolo.
Our first stop was Rio and it’s an understatement to say we had a great time there (as most people do…). The routine we got into was that we would go out sightseeing in the afternoon, meet up for dinner, party all night, sleep a few hours and then train for a few hours starting at 10am no excuses! We visited Copacobana and Ipanema beaches (Ipanema was our favourite), went to the top of Corcovado (the big Jesus statue on the mountain) and also up Sugarloaf Mountain one evening.
We flew from Rio to Sao Paolo and headed to the island of Guaruja off the nearby coast. We stayed in a luxury hotel there on the beach, rented a yacht one afternoon to sail around the islands, and of course still trained every day.
Back in Sao Paolo we had two games to finish our tour. The first was a game again the Sao Paolo Athletics Club (SPAC), the team that was also hosting our visit. We won that comfortably.
The final match on our second last day in Brazil was against the Brazilian National Team, who were in the middle of World Cup qualifiers. They were expecting to find us easy-beats but we really took it to them. With just a few minutes to go we were up 6-3 on penalty kicks but Brazil scored a try to make the score 6-8. The last play of the game gave us a penalty but Tex couldn’t slot the tough kick from 45m out (especially not with a water bottle thrown at him by the Brazilian coach!) to win the game for us – doh!