Written by Chuck Hamilton    Monday, 15 August 2011 13:17    PDF Print Write e-mail
A Rugby Tour to Iceland? Sure!
Tournaments - Tournaments

The Thunderbird Rugby Football Club was founded in 1976 and has become one of the oldest, best known clubs on the Thunderbird School of Global Management campus. The ‘Old Boys’ began when the club founders returned to campus in 1983 to play the student rugby club in an annual event known as “RAW” (Rugby Alumni Weekend). The Old Boys added international tours to our fixtures in 2003 with a tour of Cuba.

The most recent trip was their epic Mjöður rugby tour of Iceland, which marked the first rugby tour in Icelandic history. The Old Boys, sponsored by Playstation 3 and Suntron Corp., played the Reykjavik Raiders in two matches (one on Saturday, July 3rd and another on Wednesday, July 6th).

The 7-day long trip was a constant diet of rugby activities as well as site seeing.  The Thunderbird Old Boys arrived in the country of “Fire and Ice” on July 2nd at about 10am and started exploring the city of Reykjavik. The players had a walk-through practice on the hotel lawn at 5pm and then headed down to a reception keg with The Reykjavik Raiders at Esja Bar from 7:30 – 11pm.

The sun doesn't set until about 1:30am, so your perception of time is definitely affected. Some of the players wanted to grab dinner and realized it was 10:30pm.  Others stayed out until the sun went down (and up again 3 hours later) exploring the nightlife and sights of Reykjavik. All that daylight makes you feel like you get two days for each actual one day. Reykjavik is very easy to navigate on foot, and the summer temperatures make for perfect rugby weather (about 55° – 65° F).

Game 1-Thunderbird Old Boys RFC vs. Reykjavik Raiders RFC, July 3rd at Valur Sports Club:
Roster:
1. John Hamilton
2. Mike Lee
3. Gordon Harris
4. Taylor Miller
5. Patrick Stewart
6. Chris Cook
7. Jason O’Brien
8. Alex Stein
9. David Olsen
10. Nigel Wilford
11. Mick Sargent
12. Henrik Lauritzen
13. Morgan Siegal
14. Bill McColl
15. Steve Bisogno

Reserves:
Chuck Hamilton
Nikhil Agarwal
Neal Henderson
Jon Kephart
Ed Decker
Raminder Sandhu
Phil Williams
Mgr., John Lubin

Halftime, Old Boys down 17-24 to the Reykjavik Raiders

Final: 45-27 to the Raiders

Old Boy Tries:
David Olsen - 2
Alex Stein - 2
John Hamilton - 1

Conversions:
Nigel Wilford - 1

The “Old Boys” lost 27-45 but had a great time. Post-match the Reykjavik club took us to a local city spa for some relaxation in hot tubs of varying temperatures, from relaxing to “soup”, then off to the English Pub for libations.

July 4th was a bus tour of the city of Reykjavik then out to the Blue Lagoon Hot Springs Resort for more relaxation in the blue, geothermal pools!

July 5th was an open day where several people went on a night scuba dive and snorkeling trip while the rest of us met the host team at a beach house at Nautholsvik Beach for all-you-can-eat grilled lamb, rugby throw contest, volleyball, and, for some, a quick swim in the cold water of the North Atlantic.

July 6th was the Golden Circle day trip, visiting important landmarks and natural sites including the Gullfoss waterfall, the Strokkur geysir and the Kerið crater. At 8pm the Old Boys faced off against the Reykjavik team as the Hong Kong Potbellied Pigs for our second match, losing 22-51.

The Potbellied Pigs RFC was formed in 1997. We are a social team that only plays on tours, and we raise money for charity wherever we go. The name came from the first tour, where they fielded a team entirely from front row players. Since then we have welcomed players of all shapes and sizes, and even some ex-international players like John (Bentos) Bentley, Doddie Weir, and next month, Serge Betsen. The Pigs usually go on four or five tours a year, usually around Asia. The trip to Iceland was our first in Europe.  On other tours, we have been to China, Macau, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Bali, Malaysia, Cambodia and Mongolia. We also host our own tournament in the Philippines, the Fat Boy Tens, where we raise upwards of 50K USD for two local orphanages and the Philippine rugby development fund.  Our players come mainly from other 'regular league' clubs in Hong Kong but also other clubs in Asia and we have alumni far flung over the world.  We also have a sister club in Dubai, the Arabian Potbellies, which was started by ex-Pigs that moved over there for work.  In some tours in Asia we have had Potbellies vs. Potbellies games!

There were 4 Pigs members that made the trip to Iceland (but there were 23 Pigs that returned).  The Pigs had ambitious plans to join the tour as a second full side, but it was truly cost that limited our attendance. Tours in Asia can cost a few hundred dollars for the weekend, but the tour to Iceland started in the thousands just for the flight from Hong Kong, it is literally half way around the world. So we settled for John Hamilton, the Hong Kong-based captain of the Pigs, two UK-based Pigs (Nigel Wilford and Mick "Mini" Sargeant) and one Dubai-based Arabian Potbelly (Nikhil Agarwal). Our first foray to the continent was well enjoyed by the Piggies, are happy for our new members, and we would like to thank Chuck and the Thunderbird Old Boys for putting on a fantastic tour.


Game 2-Hong Kong Potbellied Pigs RFC vs. Reykjavik Raiders RFC, July 6th at Value Sports Club:
Roster:
1. John Hamilton
2. Mike Lee
3. Gordon Harris
4. Taylor Miller
5. Patrick Stewart
6. Phil Williams
7. Raminder Sandhu
8. Alex Stein
9. David Olsen
10. Nigel Wilford
11. Mick Sargent
12. Henrik Lauritzen
13. Morgan Siegal
14. Bill McColl
15. Steve Bisogno
Reserves:
Chuck Hamilton
Nikhil Agarwal
Neal Henderson
Jon Kephart
Ed Decker
Chris Cook
Jason O’Brien
Mgr., John Lubin


HK - 22, Reykjavik Raiders - 51

Old Boy Tries:
Alex Stein - 2
Gordon Harris - 1
Steve Bisogno - 1 (Bill McColl assist)

Conversions:
Morgan Siegal - 1

July 7th was another open day where some people rented a car and drove out to the West Fjords, while others continued to explore the city of Reykjavik. That night was our closing dinner/Kangaroo Court at Thorvaldsen. Awards (and punishments) were liberally handed out as well as swapping of jerseys and gear with the Reykjavik Raiders.

Playing in Reykjavik was a fantastic experience and we were honored to be playing in their first ever 15s match in history! The Raiders were very well drilled and had some speed on the corner- what they lacked in experience they made up with youth, and what we lacked in youth, we made up for in weight. But if you can't catch them... they run around you!  We are happy to have made a lot of friends in Iceland and hope to return there someday. The Pigs also hope that some of the Raiders and the Thunderbirds will make it to our Pigs tour in Asia!

Overall, the Thunderbird Old Boys Rugby Football Club enjoyed their trip to Iceland and thank the host team, the Reykjavik Raiders, for the great hospitality and the new friendships that were formed during the tour and wish them luck in driving popularity of rugby in Iceland. Many thanks as well to the anonymous alumni donor who sponsored three Thunderbird student players on the tour.

What’s next for Thunderbird Old Boys? Well, we are still deciding where to tour next. As Neal Henderson says, “When Chuck Hamilton says ‘tour’, I don’t ask questions. I just pull out my checkbook.”

Any clubs interested in arranging a rugby tour to Iceland can contact Chuck Hamilton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Thunderbird RFC Tour to Iceland

Thunderbird School of Management finds rugby, endless days and geysers in Iceland.