The touring experience isn't just reserved for the pros; this opportunity to bond with your team and improve your game is accessible to all levels of the game. Whether you're part of an amateur side, a semi-pro or part of the school team, you can enjoy one of the most unique trips abroad available.
Understandably, this is one of the chief concerns of most organisers. It's critical that you bear in mind your tour's objective when making this decision. Are you after a unique training experience for your team? Perhaps you want to see how they perform in a different climate or even a different altitude? New Zealand would be a great choice in either circumstance, although the price of the flights may be a little off putting. Or maybe you're just after a relaxing environment for the lads to enjoy post match or training. Whatever your goals, make sure you set aside a fair amount of time to research facilities, weather conditions and such.
Picking the period in your season that you allocate to your tour could be critical to the success or failure of your season and is a crucial factor to take into consideration when organising rugby tours in general. It doesn't matter whether you're an International or an amateur, nobody likes losing and touring mid season could leave your team fatigued and vulnerable in critical matches. Again, the purpose of your tour is a good guideline for choosing the timing. If you're trying to get the team to match fitness or introducing new training techniques, pre-season would be the ideal time to tour. Alternatively, if you're just looking to blow off some steam, a tour at the end of a long season will be ideal.
Another major concern and general administrative issue of many organisers of rugby tours is trying to pin down a time when all of your team are willing and able to participate in your trip. The last thing you want is to be missing key members of your team for the tour. It's difficult to get the team playing in a cohesive style or improve that dressing room banter when half your mates aren't there. Again, it's important to tailor the length of your trip with your purpose in mind. Are you after a grueling fitness drive that will occupy your team for a good couple months as you prepare for that new season? Or a fun little mini tour to blow off some steam?
It's critical that you organise your tour with your team's level of ability in mind; it's essential to dedicate a good portion of your time to researching the teams that you're considering playing. It doesn't matter if you're after a stiff challenge or a confidence building romp, get the opposition wrong and the tour wont be successful.
Joe Mathews is an avid rugby enthusiast who writes regularly for a variety of websites on subjects ranging from travel to sport. He is particularly noted for his advisory articles on rugby tours, having written a number of pieces for websites specialising in the organisation of tours. He has also occasionally written for local publications and has submitted work to a number of student publications.