We are not turning back

The 1997/98 season was finished off with an invitation to attend the South American Tour with the Barbarian Football Club. I had never been to Argentina and Uruguay and without hesitation jumped on a plane. This is the longest continuous flight that I have ever been on. It was 6,846 miles from London to Montevideo and the flying time was about fourteen hours. The first match on the 31st May 1998 was billed as one of the easier games, but we only just managed to win. It took place at the British School in Montevideo. It was odd to go all the way to South America and visit a school that was very similar to Wellingborough and had been founded in 1908 to give children an education based on principles of the best schools in Britain.

The South American Barbarians were founded thanks to one of Argentina’s greatest players, Hugo Porta. I watched Hugo play against England in 1990 from the stands at Twickenham when he had been brought out of retirement to tour. It was his unique talents that lifted Argentina from their status as a minor nation to one of respect among the international rugby community. He was Argentina’s Minister for Sport and we met him in a drinks reception in Buenos Aires at the offices of HSBC.


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