Tour began with an incredibly early 3.30am meet at Iffley Road. However, we started the almost 24 hour journey to our hotel in Madagascar in good spirits. In true OURFC spirit, it wouldn’t be tour unless we had a few admin errors thrown in the mix. This began at Heathrow, when we found out one of our party, Henry Martin, didn’t have a plane ticket booked. Instead, it was booked for a certain Alex Hogg, who is still missing. Nevertheless we continued to Paris, and onto our 11 hour flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in Madagascar we were met by interesting scents, friendly locals and lengthy immigration queues. Once through immigration etc. and thanks to Sy Wiggal’s tremendous efforts in collecting more than twenty bags/boxes of kit to be given to the local Madagascan children, it was discovered the bus booked to take us to our hotel wasn’t big enough to fit all of our own luggage plus this excess! Eventually, after some assistance, we reached our hotel around 1am and hit the hay straight away.
Our second day began with a ‘stretching’ session led by Ben Ransom, after which we went to explore the local area. At this point it finally began sinking in that we were in Madagascar as we saw local markets, open train tracks and all sorts of different foods. Nothing reinforced this feeling more than a training session at the national stadium later that day. Packed with children, we realised what kind of atmosphere and crowd we might have for our first game on Sunday. A surreal training session ended with a bit of fitness in preparation for what will definitely be a tough game.