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Cobham Allstars’ Nashville Rugby Tour - April 2024

Updated: May 4

Day 1 - Wednesday

The tourists arrived at Heathrow airport with no stragglers, excited for what awaited them on the other side of the pond. All looked to be on track for a good start, until it was discovered Bliss didn't have a valid ESTA. This caused him to miss the opening ceremony and meet-and-greet of beers and chips in the Heathrow Wetherspoons, thus also resulting in the first fine of the tour and the seat belt signs hadn't even been switched on.


With everyone suitably lubricated and now all in possession of valid travel documentation, they boarded the plane. The brave exploratory party were on their way to the New World.

The Great Nashville tour had begun!


Landing on time in Nashville, the lads collected their transportation and headed to the Frat house, Cobham Kappa, greeted by our US research expert Kevin Langston, and legal representation Stew Harris, with John Amborse not far behind, completing the fellowship. KL and Stew, having arrived a few hours before the touring party, wasted no time helping the boys unpack and quickly getting them onto the Broadway strip to ‘Suss the vibe’. The vibe was indeed thoroughly sussed and the standard was set for what was to be a groundbreaking tour!




Day 2 - Thursday

The men arose to carpe some more diem in the only way they knew how, with some ice cold breakfast vodka and a cold shower, and soon ventured out to the local park to begin preparations for their impending battle with Nashville RFC, with a play book of serious Joué in the back pocket.


With training complete the lads headed to the nearby BBQ hut, The Red-Headed Stranger, for some well-earned mini tacos and iced margaritas, further opening the touring parties’ eyes to the exceptional culinary options available in the Music City. After returning to Cobham Kappa some looseners were quickly circulated before the evening training session with the Nashville Grizzlies.


With spirits and the chances of an audacious offload high and hangovers held firmly at bay, the Allstars and the Grizzlies left training with the knowledge that both teams were thoroughly prepared for their respective do or die matches on the Saturday (one for play-off advancement, the other for ensuring the continued generous donations from the watching sponsors for next year's tour).

After training, the welcome familiarity of a couple of lukewarm pints of Guinness and a few excellent burgers were shared by both teams at the formidable Lost Paddy Pub. The touring party returned to Cobham Kappa to adorn their battle gear for another raucous night on the Broadway strip, where the discovery was made that through generous tip, the honky tonk Bands would play anything your heart desired (which would come in very handy later on in the tour).


Day 3 - Friday

Friday saw the groundbreaking implementation of the Julian Clarke Breakfast Bar, with handy deputies Andy Cobb and Richard Murray, ensuring every tourist started their day with a Michelin worthy omelette and coffee, ready to seize the day ahead!


With special thanks to John Ambrose, the Allstars’ were treated to a day by the pool at the Virgin Hotel Rooftop bar, appropriately dubbed the ‘Bay of Pigs’ by Tour Captain Snead. After many a fireball was drained and several pictures of the party were taken in an impressive range of budgie smugglers, Cobham made one last pit stop at the frat house.


Pausing only to win a few games of beer pong with our new friends in the house next door, before descending once again into the Nashville strip for a final captain's run in Honkey Tonk Central, which quickly established itself as our spiritual home.


Day 4 - Saturday | GAME DAY

Fresh from the Broadway strip, Cobham rose and rallied for the impending battle that lay ahead vs Nashville RFC. Fuelled once more by Julian Ramsay's omelettes and Costa Cobbys powerful coffee, Cobham made the drive to the Hendersonville Rugby Complex ready to look death in the face and say, “Not today.” Also, to perhaps successfully complete a set of quick hands down the line, but more achievable goals took priority. What followed may go down in the annals of history as the greatest performance by a touring side since the 1997 Lions Tour to South Africa. Nashville RFC was their Everest.


Match Report

The game kicked off with Cobham quickly taking a two try lead heading into the first water break but shortly after the restart Nashville showed their worth by striking back with venom! Cobham were able to maintain a 3 - 2 try lead into the half.



Off the back of some inspiring and mildly threatening words from Captain Snead and Jeff Mace during the break, the Allstars knew they were only going to get the better of this talented and youthful Nashville side through their superior knowledge and experience of the game. They demonstrated this unparalleled nause of the game by conceding almost immediately. After some more openly threatening words from Snead and Mace, Cobham's hero raised his hand to produce some brilliant individual play.


Major Tom Cowan, your club and country need you!


Cowan took the game by the brim of its Stetson and bullied his way over the line for two quick tries, one of which was kindly converted by the Geordie iceman, Craig Robson (which he would then go on to repeatedly claim won us the game). Nashville of course fought hard and true, showing grit and determination, to engineer a last minute score to bring them back with a point of the Allstars at the death. But Cobham's experience and heart allowed them to see out the final plays of a thrilling encounter to allow international scrum half Stew Harris to clear the ball into touch and bring a famous victory back to Cobham (a lesson the first team could learn), with the game ending 34-33 to the men in Star Spangled Blue!


  • Click here to watch a video of the match.


Try scorers:-

Jonny Mace

Hugh Farmer

Tom Cowan (4)


Conversions:-

Craig Robson (2)

With Victory the theme of the day, Cobham launched themselves into a musical Battle of the Bands social with their opposition at The Lost Paddy. The evening saw attendances from major British icons such as Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Boy George, and not one but TWO Ginger spices (leading to many questioning on the strip that evening if they’d had one to many Bud Lights).


Having adequately hydrated and another resounding win in the boat race carried home by Farmer, post match awards were to be given out. Man of the match went to Major Tom Cowan for his excellent display and 4 try haul, with DOD being unsurprisingly awarded to Farmer for failing to remember again he still cannot and should not kick a rugby ball despite strict instructions from his fellow tourists not to do it.


Once more songs were sung, and pints sunk, Cobham and the Nashville boys headed back to the Broadway strip to commemorate a true international celebration of the greatest game, which will be remembered (loosely) by all as a fantastic day in the history of both clubs.


Day 4 - Sunday

The sun rose on the last full day in Nashville with many a sore head and body amongst the tourists. The Allstars rose to begin their nervous wait for the commencement of the Tour Court. The Rt. Hon. Mike Frisby presided, with his faithful and meticulous prosecutor Langston clutching a hearty list of fines to be dished out to the tourists.


In a heart breaking (if mysteriously convenient) turn of events, the accused tourists looked around to see no legal counsel in sight! After the hasty departure of Stew Harris and the defence also taken tragically ill, the defendants were left with no protection, and were all dutifully put to the sword, the whisky and the rye with every tourist found guilty of every heinous crime committed to the cheers of the onlooking clubmen in the galleries.

With court over, we could all be friends again and on the instruction of Mr Ambrose, Cobham headed to the glorious Martin BBQ shack for some ice cold beer and succulent scran. With the shack helpfully located a stone's throw from the Broadway strip Cobham descended one last night to let the horn of Fountains of Wayne echo in the Honky Tonk one last time… or four more times!


Day 5 - Monday

The final day dawned with many sad and tired souls present. The knowledge that the ‘snap back to reality’ was fast approaching loomed over the tourists. With knowledge that their time in this magical ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ was drawing to a close, the Allstars partook in some last minute shopping for cowboy boots and BBQ sauces in the Opryland Mall and indulging in some small comforts before heading to the airport to return to civilization.


A great time was had by all and after one last pint at the airport bar, the Allstars returned home to Surrey with a lifetime of memories and a victorious tour to stay with them for the rest of their days!


A special mention to our tour sponsors Metplas Incorporated, KN5 Notters Bikes & Beers, Synergis Strategic Resourcing, The Gomshall Mill and tour organisers, Messer’s Snead, Cobb, and Schofield. Having just about fully recovered, this tourist is eagerly awaiting the location of next year's tour for some sun, beers and high quality joue!


Report courtesy of Hugh Farmer & Luke Bliss

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