With both the 15s and sevens seasons complete, the rugby club held the annual End of Season Banquet at the Olympic Club this weekend. The O-Club put on a great spread, and after the awards and speeches we hit up a nearby bar to continue into the small hours of the morning.
With two matches left in the Northern California 1st Division competition, we flew to Salk Lake City for the day to take on Park City Haggis (think: very large Polynesians). It was a brisk, sunny day with an icy wind blowing, but the views of the surrounding mountains from the pitch were outstanding (and reminded me of playing in Switzerland at the foothills of the Alps). It was a tough and physical match, and apart from the first five minutes when they scored two quick tries off our mistakes, we dominated the game and won 17-32.
Note that almost all these photos are from the 2nd team match (in the white jerseys) that followed our game.
This blog is still under construction and I’m slowly bringing my entries up-to-date. Please come back again soon, when I should have the following pages up and running:
- More Swiss Alps: mountaineering, hiking, snowboarding
- Rugby: Rugby Club Zurich, Swiss Rugby, Berkeley RFC
- Trip summaries (text with a few select photos) from my travels around Europe before the digital camera era including:
- Scotland – Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scottish Highlands
- Spain – Sevilla, Jerez de la Frontera, Gibraltar, Family Christmas in Competa
- Turkey – Istanbul, Gallipoli for Anzac Day ’99, Aegean Coast, Cappadocia
I always wanted to go to this tournament hosted by Duke University each year in North Carolina. Even before I began business school I’d heard about it, but since coming to Berkeley I haven’t been able to get a Haas team together because we’re a small business school and there just isn’t the interest in rugby (sadly!). Instead, I contacted the Stanford GSB team and arranged to go with them.
I took the red-eye and flew into Raleigh-Durham early on Friday morning. I had the intent to explore the Duke campus that day, but it turned out that I’d need to rent a car to get anywhere at all so I just bummed around the hotel. I met up with some of the Stanford guys as they rolled in, and we went for a few beers that evening. The next morning, we all (just 13 of us! – you need 15 for a rugby team…) had breakfast together and then drove over one hour to get to the playing fields in Danville, Virginia. Apparently Duke University doesn’t like the rugby team enough to let them host the tournament on their own fields!
I had no idea that the tournament was as big as it was! There were (I think) 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s touch teams. It’s definitely a small business school world as well and I kept bumping into people I knew, including Tanya Wilkins (who I know from Monash University in Melbourne) who is currently at HBS and who was playing in their touch team.
We had a moderately successful tournament, especially for such a ragamuffin group that had never played together. We defeated the Wharton A team, lost to a strong Harvard A team (both Harvard and Wharton brought two full squads along) and then defeated a good Kellogg team by a decent margin. Even with that good result, we were ranked 9th overall and thus narrowly missed the eight-team playoffs for the championship.
Rugby Club Zurich won the Swiss Cup for the first time in 2003. It was a fantastic day for the club, with all three teams (Mens A, Mens B, Womens) winning their respective national trophies. It was great to be a part of such a day.
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!
From a group email sent to family and friends after my trip:
In early October I flew out of Switzerland to Dublin, and from there raced straight up to Belfast for the Aussie’s first Rugby World Cup game – versus Romania. It was great being there for the event with what must’ve been every Aussie in Europe. After much beer, little sleep, green-and-gold facepaint and fingernail polish application, we all migrated to the ground to watch a resounding victory. While swilling Guinness’ afterwards in the beer tent we were joined by most of the team, and it was fab to meet and drink with a few of the lads.
After spending an extra day in Belfast to shake my head at the complete stupidity of the Catholic vs. Protestant Northern Ireland thing, I raced across the country to Galway to see me ol’ pal Jimbo, who was working in a great little place called the Salmon Weir Hostel (even Caitlin from “Degrassi” stayed there once – that’s how good it is!). There you go Jim, a free ad for ya! While there I perused the west coast with trips to Connemarra and the Aran Islands in some of the most miserable weather ever (the “true” way to see Ireland I told myself).
Back in Dublin it was time for the big Aust vs. Ireland encounter at Lansdowne Road. It was amazing how many of the same crowd were there for the match, and it was great to be in amongst the Irish lads (and Jem and her Dad!) and the atmosphere of the ground. Once again I had the pleasure of chatting to some of the players, and I even managed to sneak into the official hotel function afterwards. Lucky me.
A bad BLT and an 8-hour bus ride to the Dingle Peninsula saw me in pretty bad shape for the most beautiful part of Ireland, but I still managed to get around and see this “Ryan’s Daughter” country (anyone seen the film or am I the only one?) – rolling, green, stone-walled hills, white beaches, rugged coastline, olde ruins, the works. I loved it. My stomach didn’t.
The food poisoning saw me cross my legs and hope for the best aaaaaaall the way back to Dublin, as I was in no shape to stop in Limerick for the last game of rugger. Luckily I was OK for my flights home, and after 35 hours of aircrafts and airports, I staggered back into Melbourne.