With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Caribbean, twenty-nine Renegades (old and new) set off for their pre-season tour of Bogotá, Colombia.
After a brief layover in a deserted Miami, the Renegades arrived Thursday evening in Colombia to crowds thronging the streets. Many assumed, not unreasonably, that our fame had preceded us and our Colombian fans had turned out to greet the men in black and white. However it became quickly apparent that the Pope had double booked his Colombia trip with the Renegades at that it was highly likely that most of the crowd were there to greet his His Holiness.
Based in the Zona Rosa district of Bogotá, the Renegades set about sampling the local comida and cerveza in the plentiful bars and restaurants of this vibrant area.
On Friday the team went off on the traditional activity day designed to foster team spirit and comradery. What better way to do this than paintballing on a mountain side shooting at your team mates! With Bogotá situated at over 8,000 feet above sea level, the lack of oxygen at this altitude was noticeable during the paintball, with many thinking this might not bode too well for the games scheduled on Saturday! In a fitting tribute to the Holy Father’s visit the Catholic team triumphed in the War Games fittingly beating the Protestants in the final. Unsurprisingly the US team had issues with running out of ammo, however their financial resource purchased more and they were able to beat the Miscellaneous team into fourth place. After the last crate of the surprisingly tasty Poker Beer local brew ran out we headed back to the bright lights off Bogota and to the team meal at Andres DC, which appeared to be the Colombian reimagining of a TGI Friday.
On Saturday the team set off to the playing fields of the Universidad del Rosario in the north of the city. Here two games were played, firstly against the Azules Rugby Club and then against Carneros Andes RFC. Moods were tempered by the unfortunate news that Hurricane Irma’s path had caused the cancellation of our return flight. Unfortunately this led to the Captain Pettler having to remain behind at the hotel to rebook the tour party on the next available flights.
Renegades resident cliché basher and old git Mikey Williams stepped into the fray as temporary Captain for the first game, and after a pre-game speech that had echoes of Churchill, David Brent and Judith Chalmers Ranegades ran out comfortable winners against Azules. Although it took a while to get used to the lack of oxygen at this altitude and the error count was too high for the coach’s liking! However some of the tries were of the top order with forwards linking with backs and multiple phase play resulting in some classy scores. Respect was given to the opposition however who fashioned two long range scores from the limited possession they had.
The second game against Carneros was expected to be a different proposition. Azules were the best team in the second tier of the sixteen strong Bogota league, however Carneros are one of the strongest teams in the first division. Simon by this time had arrived, thankfully for Mikey who was down to his last 300 cliches and the game again resulted in also a comfortable victory for the Renegades. Again some great rugby was played and plenty of tries were scored. Some strong running notable from Delano and guest player Nick Zadja in the forwards were equaled by some strong line-breaks from our second guest player Tommy Duffy in the centre. Again there was some great multi-phase play with backs linking with forwards again crafted some great scores. Some of the experienced tour members commented that the first twenty minutes against Carneros was some of the best rugby Renegades had played for many a year. Mention must also go to new players JV and Robyn who ran some classy lines in the backs and its fair to say no-one had a below-average game. Man of the Matches was deservedly won by Delano who broke the gain line with each touch and also gave some classy offloads.
So thanks must go to our new friends at the Azules and Carneros for arranging the games and being gracious hosts. Apu the referee who refereed both games well and in a good spirit. To our guest players from the US Tommy and Nick who were valuable additions to the tour, both on and off the pitch. To the Old Boys from the UK (Simon, Terry, Brendan and Gary) who made the trip all the way from Blighty and again contributed greatly. To all the rookies who performed their tasks well and provided good entertainment when called upon. Thanks to the Tour Committee who pulled this together over a period of ten months or more. But special final thanks must be given to Mauricio, who as our only real Spanish speaker, took an incredible amount on board, and although he appeared near to a nervous breakdown on several occasions contributed an incredible amount to the organization of the tour on the ground.
This was a classic Renegades tour where a great time was had by all, but with the focus also preparing for the upcoming season. It was also great to see many old Renegades make the trip from around the world and to welcome the new Renegades into the club.
Details of the 2018 tour will be available in a few months’ time!
Updated 01:44 - 27 Sep 2017 by Renegade (Web)Master