Lloyd’s Rugby Club’s most recent tour took them Eastward, with games in Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong. After a long flight, and an evening’s entertainment from Lloyd’s of London (Asia), Lloyd’s stepped into their first game of the 2009 tour against the Singapore Barbarians, an invitational side comprised of players from teams around Singapore. In conditions that were comparable to playing in a sauna, Lloyd’s struggled, and despite considerable effort went down 28 points to 12. The disappointment was palpable, but the squad ensured the loss did not interfere with their experience of Singapore. Bodies were rejuvenated with some professionally run water aerobics on Sentosa beach, while a spot of light brunch at the Fullerton Hotel allowed something of a mental recovery; the squad given time to relax and plan the champagne rugby they knew they could deliver.
Having experienced the humidity of Singapore, the cooler air of Shanghai was something of a relief. Welcomed with a cocktail party, kindly hosted by Lloyd’s Reinsurance Company (China), the squad eagerly set about exploring what the city had to offer. On the day of the game, and after what seemed like a four hour bus journey to the outskirts of Shanghai, Lloyds took to the field, realising it wasn’t too late to apologise and atone for the loss to Singapore. The opponents, the Shanghai Crabs, had a large and well drilled squad, who were unwilling to surrender points easily. Lloyd’s, however, were too strong and ran out eventual 36‐8 winners. The post match celebrations, capably hosted by the Crabs, threatened to get in the way of certain tour members getting on the early bus to the airport, but thanks to skilful tour management, all players, in various states of alertness and dress, made it to Hong Kong.
Prior to arrival in Hong Kong the rigours of touring were starting to take their toll on the squad, but thankfully they were reinvigorated by the sights and sounds of the new city. On the first night the team were hosted at a cocktail party by the law firm Holman Fenwick Willan, who ensured a great start to the final leg of the tour. The renewed vigour in the team was crucial as the opponents in the final match were the toughest of the tour, Hong Kong Football Club. After hearing about the wonders of HKFC in Singapore and Shanghai, it did not disappoint on arrival. The fantastic setting, in the midst of Hong Kong’s sky scrapers, was coupled with brilliant facilities, which served to make the Lloyd’s players ever so slightly jealous. The astro turf pitch was something of a novelty, but the fact that it had played host to the Hong Kong v Japan international match a week earlier helped alleviate any concerns. The starting Lloyd’s team put in a fantastic performance, and were leading 22‐0 at half time. Substitutions and fatigue allowed HKFC back into the match but Lloyd’s held on, emerging 22‐12 winners. The post match relief was clearly visible as the players were able to relax, safe in the knowledge that they were part of a winning tour.
It was a weary Lloyd’s squad that boarded the plane from Hong Kong back to the UK. The flight gave them a chance to reflect on the events of the previous twelve days. Some contemplated the relative merits of inside out blazers and flashing sunglasses while walking up and down Lan Kwai Fong, while others shuddered at the thought of ever again being stuck on a bus in the middle of the South China Sea. All in all, fine touring indeed.