For a prospective organiser, it is important to know what to expect from school rugby tours. Of course in the ideal scenario the tour will be led by individuals with a familiarity with the sport (a rugby coach for example). However, even then preparation and expectations can go awry. It is far better to have a general idea of what you want and then leave the details to the experts.
Before anything else, a touring plan must be formed that composes all necessary elements of the trip. For school rugby tours, fixtures are of paramount importance. Your proposed destinations will only be as good as what they have to offer the sport – mixing it up between the historical side and the practical side (i.e. arranging fixtures). In this case the first thing to do is to locate any competitions or tournaments that school rugby tours can get involved in, and then make contact with a reputable company who specialises in these kinds of tours.
Holland, for example, has both the Challenge Jean-Roy and Challenge Henry Martin tournaments available for ages under 13; and Italy has a few tournaments available for ages under 16 and 12, including the Livorno Rugby Tournament and Valsugana Rugby Tournament. These opportunities should be the cornerstone components in deciding your tour’s destination.
It is generally recommended that your teams can get involved in at least two fixtures on the tour. You can contact the Rugby Union organisation present in the country, but consulting a company that specialises in organising school rugby tours is always a better option than trying to make communication yourself. As well as the fixtures, it is important to ensure that you have an organised day-to-day itinerary. The itinerary should seek to diversify the activities, whilst keeping it in line with the rugby-orientated experiences.
Tournaments and fixtures will take up most of the time, but a good tour will include plenty of opportunities to visit famous rugby stadiums or sites of historical interest. In places like Holland, Paris and Prague this can be done easily as they are compact locations with good transport systems. If your tour intends to take in multiple destinations, then you can even go between countries with relative ease and speed.
Other sporting destinations such as Castell-Platja d’Aro may have to be considered the primary destination for a school tour as it is slightly further from neighbouring cities. You could, however, take a ferry to the island of Malta – which is achievable, though time consuming. Other than this, you should expect to keep the tour vitalised with relevant historical excursions to give it a further educational value. It is important to stimulate the students with information, as it will allow them to relate the context with their sporting interests. This is particularly true, for example, in places such as Prague or South Africa, where the sport plays an important part in the country’s history (especially in the case of the latter).
Lastly, expect to reserve at least one day on any school rugby tours for a more ‘fun’ focused attraction. France has Disneyland, whilst Munich and Italy have their own theme parks too. Companies specialising in these kinds of tours are well experienced in creating fun, educational and cultural itineraries tailored to specific age groups, so it is well worth enlisting their help.