The bags are almost packed, the milk has been cancelled and arrangements have been made to feed the cat. I’m off to Africa tonight for this year’s rugby holiday, having been to New Zealand, the USA and South Africa the previous three years following English or British teams.
This time I’m part of a supporters tour for the England Counties XV who are playing in Uganda and we have a pretty good itinerary. We are based in Kampala where the Counties XV play Uganda on Tuesday and East Africa on Saturday. We will take part in an outreach day with local children in Jinja and there are visits planned to a chimpanzee sanctuary, the Nile Brewery and Lake Victoria.
In case you thought that we were taking rather drastic steps to avoid the Jubilee festivities, we have been invited to the British High Commission to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond anniversary, one of a couple of formal functions we need to attend.
The England Counties XV will move on to Kenya for their final game but the supporter’s party will head back to the UK. However I, along with my good friend Brian White, will go to Nigeria where we hope to help develop the game in the country of my birth. We only have five days there but a succession of TV and Radio interviews have been lined up for us as well as sessions with players, coaches and administrators.
I hope to be able to meet up with a couple of people from Eastern Counties while I’m there. Roger Coombs who played for and later coached Woodbridge RFC is in Lagos coaching Cowrie RFC, and Nick White who was a well respected referee in Suffolk and lived in Sudbury is now Head Teacher of Kaduna High School. If anyone has any messages for Roger or Nick I will pass them on.
I’ll be tweeting and posting on Facebook throughout the trip and I hope to publish a few articles on my blog too. But the first challenge will be tonight’s flight on Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa!