2017 Supporters’ Tour to New Zealand & Fiji

It’ll be remembered as the tour where Captain, Sam Warburton, wondered at Eden Park’s 3rd Test full-time whistle exactly what would happen next.

As reality sunk in, amongst a bewildered murmuring from both sets of fans, the famous touring team had achieved what they have been unable to do since 1971: prevent the feared All Blacks from winning the Series.

Could the picture have been painted any better? We lose the first, win the second (in apocalyptical conditions) and take the very last match to the full 80. When all’s said and done, we were all happy (especially the New Zealand Tourism Minister who is probably still going through his spreadsheet of incoming cash from the 20,000+ fans that took up every square inch of space in The Land of the Long White Cloud.

Three years of intense planning on our part took our magnificent group of tourists to Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Fiji, with many opting to extend their trips with a few extra days in Sydney, Cairns and Kuala Lumpur. From a Tour Manager’s perspective I had it easy. Not only did the ascending performances of Gatland’s men assist our clients reaching fever pitch, the temperamental Kiwi winter weather winked at us every day leaving others to brave the sideways rain as they navigated in opposite directions. Moreover, our 56 tourists from all over the UK, Australia and even Boston gelled superbly, marshalled socially by the evergreen Huw Jones and his sidekick, Greg from Massachusetts. Todd’s image and video capture will come to fruition at the reunion where most will watch through their fingers at what his button-hole camera caught throughout the tour!

Following this team is special, there’s no two ways about it. That Andrew and Alex chose our trip to celebrate their honeymoon is very humbling. Equally, the couples that raided their life savings to take this once-in-a-lifetime trip should take a bow, whilst the supporters who have joined us for a second and third occasion have a very special place in our memory bank. There are too many highlights to note on this short blog, although we must allow a little space for our beautiful friends in Fiji who made us so welcome at First Landing Resort in the build up to the Series-deciding finale. What better place to enjoy each other’s company than with white sands between your toes, 30 degree sunshine, clear blue waters and a wonderful set of new friends chatting and laughing like lifelong friends.

New Zealand didn’t disappoint. The welcome will be remembered forever and in future years we can all say “I was there” when remembering fondly the victory in Wellington – and the party that followed!

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