The 2017 Men’s Blues tour to the US started off a little late, as Captain Conor Kearns had his Viva on the morning of departure, resulting in a 30 minute delay to the bus leaving Iffley Road for Heathrow. Fortunately our illustrious leader had built in some ‘contingency’ time and the party arrived in plenty of time for their flight to Boston. Scrum-half Sam Edgerley, who did not travel to Heathrow with the main party, had an emotional farewell at departures as he said goodbye to his new Fiancé, before joining the rest of the boys in the queue for security. Approx. 8 hours later the flight touched down in Boston on schedule, but it took a further 3 hours to clear customs and pick up the mini-vans, the transport for the, not helped by a ‘Freeze’ from Robbie Fraser as the party awaited their luggage! A short drive from the rental depot into Cambridge, saw Sy Wiggall only discovering that his van had lights on arrival at Harvard central square, where the players were to meet their ‘billets’ for the next three nights. At close to midnight, the players disappeared to various parts of Cambridge with their hosts for what they hoped would be a good night’s sleep as it was now 5am UK time, and then be ready for a morning yoga/stretch session followed by training and team run, prior to Sunday’s fixture.
Following breakfast with their host in a university cafeteria, the players gathered at the Harvard rugby ground, where S & C Coach Sy Wiggall was eagerly awaiting their presence to join him for the yoga/stretch session. With the sun shining and the Harvard women’s hockey team training next door, spirits were high in the camp and the morning’s session went well, leading to the afternoon off for everyone to explore the sights of Cambridge and Harvard University. That Saturday evening the Harvard rugby boys hosted the tour party to a ‘feed’ in the Murr Centre, which saw the first outing for the ‘Boy Band’ – Rob Menzies-Wilosn, Rob Quinlan, Ben Parker & Dom Waldouck, plus the the first rendition of the Stars & Stripes from Tour American – Dan Moor (a Canadian!). Following this light entertainment, John Aaron Henry dazzled the audience with his Thoughts for the Day, before the party headed to Harvard Central Square for a few well deserved shandies.
Sunday morning soon came round and game day, the non-23 were taken by Sy for some step running at the famous Colliseum, home to the Harvard football team, as they joined hundreds of other masochistic fitness fanatics, scaling the steep steps to the top numerous times! The squad departed Harvard for a 30 minute drive to Malden where they succeeded in securing a hard earned 31 points to 20 victory over Mystic River – match report in separate website article. The post-match hospitality was traditional US style, a couple of tinnies pitch side with your opposite number, before adjourning to the East Athletic Association clubhouse in Malden town for pizza and more beer. Songs were sung, boats races won and new friends made as the squads mingled and enjoyed a few hours together, before the Oxford party headed back to Cambridge and either to bed or a quiet beer in the square.
Part 2 fo the adventures to follow shortly.
Ferret Watch has been sadly lacking good intel so far!! (Lamo)