“1976 was the year it all kicked off. Easter in Paris, Lloyds fulfilled a Rosslyn Park commitment ( R P having gone to the US Bicentennial celebrations 30 players no funding: 2 games the first won the second reduced to a football match as the Paris University Club pitch was unfit. We lost the football! The appetite was whetted, and the market approved of the initiative.”
Hertford ‐ Boston ‐ Miami Won 5 Lost 1. The loss was to a Hertford Select XV and it was the 1st Lloyds game to be televised. We moved to Boston bruised and reflective. The balance was restored both games were won in the face of stiff opposition and massive US insurance market hospitality. Miami hot humid and no less competitive, we won both games and lost a lot of weight.
1983 Los Angeles ‐ San Francisco ‐ Sacramento. Peter Kininmonth’s first tour with Lloyds, and what a team was assembled with current Internationals in our ranks. 6 games all won with style. A style that was much in evidence off the field as well. For the final game a big crowd and we were TV stars again. The team performed for the camaras in a big performance against a very strong Northen California select side.
1994 10 years on appropriately a veterans tour 3 games all won. The second notable for the venue Columbus, Georgia, otherwise know as Fort Benning ( of US Marines fame ) We were majoring in surplus flesh they had no conception of this phenomenon. Tough game but never as tough as the court sessions that were a feature of this tour.
Hong Kong ‐ Japan. Hong Kong, 3 games played all won, Big Stadiums, High Humidity grass less pitches. We lost the skin on our knees, our hearts to the East, and our innocence to the Hong Kong police side. Japan, They made us feel like kings. We won all three games. The big 1 needed a rousing team talk, we flew out of the changing room only to find our opposition lined up outside ready to present us with calculators! When normal service was resumed we played some good rugby, and to our hosts pleasure sang well after.
1985 Singapore. Building on the success of the 1983 tour to the USA, Lloyds entered the Singapore 7’s. A specialist unit travelled. We only found out how specialist when word came back that we had won the main tournament. A massive achievement seeing off notable opposition from New Zealand and Australia.
1986 Singapore ‐ Japan. Singapore to defend our 7’s title plus a 15 aside game which was won. We departed the 7’s tournament in the semi final losing in the last seconds to the ultimate winners, some of whom went on to become All Blacks. Onto Japan 3 fixtures no calculators this time but 3 victories, it was also good to blend the 7’s with the full complement of Lloyds tourists.
Lloyd’s RFC first venture above the 49th parallel, we had left it too long. Three Cities visited Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Vancouver provided very stiff opposition, however the games were won. Toronto and Montreal were not quite the same tests, but given the hospitality it was a tired touring party at the end of the two weeks, having secured 6 wins.
Another 1st with the continent opening up, South Africa does sport and none more than rugby from the High Veldt to the subtleties of Cape Town via the heat of Durban. They play hard, extracting every inch of character from their opposition, Lloyd’s had the character and won all their games. The points for and against were not much different.
A welcome return to the States, where Lloyd’s has many strong connections ‐ and had many more at the end of this trip. We were enthusiastically hosted in all three cities, and the tour blazers, like the mammoth orders of Sea Breeze, were well received.
Nearly taken by surprise early on by Easts RFC (and by Bundaberg); Mosman RFC’s idyllic pitch overlooking Sydney Harbour (the referee : a certain Wayne Erickson); hot and humid against Singapore Cricket Club (and their Slings); match abandoned in K.L. ‐ not because our baby‐faced winger pulled a hamstring minutes before the game being chased by a dog, but due to a torrential rainstorm.
Despite dark and stormy nights, a good performance against a game Bermuda XV. On to New York to pick out rocks from the playing surface prior to the match, shoot the boot, and complete another victorious trip. No loss on tour for over a quarter century South America & The USA‐2006‐Played 3 Won 2 Lost 1 Alas, we were ambushed by attitude (and pisco sours) and succumbed to a good Prince of Wales side. Some pride salvaged by winning the energetic tercer tiempo – but this was not our finest hour. In B.A. a very competitive San Isidro side were overcome, and after Miami RFC were put to the sword, the boys were able to enjoy the considerable attractions of Nikki Beach.
The humidity and heat contributed to a surprise early defeat at the hands of Singapore, however despite our liaison officer’s choice of bar, spirits remained high. The curiously named Shanghai crabs fell before Lloyd’s recorded a well earned victory against a strong Hong Kong side and celebrated their unbeaten tour history with copious amounts of jelly.
An early victory against an up-and-coming Chicago Riot XV kick started proceedings and, despite succumbing to the club’s giant American flag waving, LRFC moved on to produce the defining moment of the trip by beating a strong Vancouver side. Despite the club’s strong start, the Austin temperatures and a very useful Blacks side proved too much for the visitors. The spirits weren’t dampened from the loss however, which is more than can be said for the roof-top bars of Austin later that night.
Moving into four decades of Lloyd’s rugby tours, they have all been extra special events with a very special bunch of people, who have been matched by the quality of our hosts in all the countries and Cities visited.
1976 ‐1978‐ 1980 Mike Mills
1983 Ross Howard
1985 Nigel Roberts
1986 Tony Hill
1989 Chris Turner
1993 Adam Fox
1994 Wim Bushall
1996 Jeff Alexander
1999 Matthew Dowse
2003‐Present Matthew Fitzgerald
This article is dedicated to Ken Attenborough who started the dream PK who just had that extra special gift with people and events. Finally Dave Mcelhiney who organised contributed and made possible much of what is written previously.