COEL have provided sponsorship for the Cambridge RUFC Vanguards as they prepare to tour Antwerp.
As tradition dictates the Vanguards will depart for Antwerp tomorrow. There is a match scheduled for Saturday afternoon against Rugbyclub Lokeren. The club is based 30 mins from the centre of Antwerp and play in the Flemish 2nd Division. Cambridge will be playing a Barbarians style team made up of various age groups in keeping with our own touring style, or at least we hope so!
The Vanguards touring tradition started over 40 years ago with former Club President and club legend Alan Banks travelling to nearly all of them.
The Vanguards team is the veteran’s age group team at the club. They have have toured to many parts of England as well as countries such as Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Wales and in recent years France where they took on the Toulon RC Veterans made up of ex-Toulon RC and ex-France internationals and organised by a CRUFC old boy, Tom Whitford, who at the time was the General Manager of the Toulon Top 14 side.
The veteran’s side is one of the more social aspects of the club and has long been the source of some very entertaining matches. Not playing as many fixtures as they used to because they can’t slow down the ageing process and it gets harder to field 15 fully fit players.
The last match was against Letchworth Vets back in November 2018, the match report for that game can be found here.
The tour side is made up of all members of the rugby club to travel, supporters, current players and retired and past players alike. This means the atmosphere is very special as it brings together the different generations with a love for the club, at least once a year, to catch up and enjoy each other’s company and more importantly helps to pass on to the newest generation of players many of the great tradition’s rugby is famous for as well as many of the great stories from those who played many years ago.
Tour Player/Coach Darren Messenger “The annual Vanguards tour is really something very special. With the sport of rugby becoming more and more professional it is so important to keep these traditions alive. Being able to bring together a great group of players, ex-players and supporters of the club that go back over 50 years is fantastic. A massive thanks to COEL for sponsoring the tour, it’s great to see a successful local business supporting grass roots rugby.”
Traditionally veterans need to be 35+ years old to qualify, but with an ever-ageing squad we have players from the age of 18 through to players like the infamous Alan Banks (Ex-President of CRUFC) who is 72 and has already played twice this season!
Good luck boys!