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Surviving University Rugby (A Fresher's Guide) Part 3 First Away Game

Updated on June 5, 2012

First Away Game

The first away match is an important milestone in the development of any squad both sporting and socially. The bus journey there tends to be a quiet, concentrated affair focused on the eighty minutes ahead. Getting into the first team should be something to be proud of and be sure that win or lose you will be getting messy on the bus journey back. Be careful though, as it is illegal to drink on most private coaches. Ideally drink before or on a minibus driven by an individual from your team/associate that has a special licence to avoid the chances of you getting in trouble.

Port and Wine

Traditionally the first coach journey back is the port and wine challenge which involves finishing one bottle of port and one bottle of wine before you get off /fall off the bus in your hometown in about the space of one hour. Obviously not a combination not for the faint hearted or the weak livered, there are many factors to consider when planning this feat of fermented grape based consumption. Port and wine is hard, there are no two ways around it. Unless you’re half Russian and your mother lactated vodka there’s no way your tolerance to alcohol will be high enough to make this experience pleasant. Firstly the purchase of the two bottles is left up to you and is therefore your first point of defence. All types of supermarket bought port have between 16-20% alcoholic content so aim for the lowest you possibly can, the same can be said for the wine but there are other factors to consider. Port and red wine are less likely to upset your stomach, but as I have experienced this combination and felt my throat slowly caramelise from the intense sweetness and repetitive similarity of the flavours. If I were to do it again I would probably pick a bottle of rose or wine to change the taste up and make the experience less monotonous. This has the additional benefit of generally being a lower alcoholic percentage but the risk of an upset stomach is proportionally higher. You could of course risk the wrath of your seniors by bringing two taster (or piccolo) bottles and finishing the challenge in less than ten minutes. Unfortunately stretching the rules to this extent may end up with you receiving general donations from other members of your team (seniors do not appreciate being undermined) as a good friend of mine found out.

There are certain essentials that I strongly recommend you bring with you in your kit bag for this traditional ceremony. Being in a cramped space with a lot of inebriated lads can be uncomfortable and messy. The worst case scenario but unfortunately also one of the most likely ones is the regurgitation of said beverages. To try and prevent this from happening eat lots of simple carbohydrates such as bread in the hours before the match, not only will this give you energy for the game but will hopefully absorb some of the alcohol from your system. It is best not to bring food onto the bus as it is considered that “eating is cheating”.

Essentials for a port and wine challenge:

-plastic bags or bin liners (for empty bottles and unplanned regurgitation).

-Paper towels, actually lots of paper towels: As a fresher you will be expected to clean the bus no matter what state it’s in and doing it with your bare hands is not pleasant. Leaving a bus in poor condition could leave you without a bus company ever again and it will definitely leave you in a whole heap of trouble with your Uni.

-One pound: A lot of drivers are unsure about letting teams drink on the busses, so to settle their minds a lot of teams put together match subs typically totalling around £20 to say thank you to the drivers for being reasonable.

Be warned that after getting off the bus if you decide to continue with the social you will have a very messy night. After stumbling into our local I took barely two steps towards the bar before I resorted to the toilets to empty my gut. After deciding it was best to take a rest I somehow made my way to a friend’s house. Getting only ten minutes sleep I accidentally snagged their emergency disability cord with my foot, and thinking that the following alarm indicated that the building was on fire I fled back towards town where I eventually sobered up and finished the night triumphantly with other survivors in our favourite club.

Crunk Juice

Port and Wine is not the only bus based drinking challenge. Crunk Juice is a formidable cocktail made in large quantities and it’s best to make a vat with some mates to spread the costs. The word Crunk is an abbreviation of “crazy drunk” and it seems fitting. The ingredients to Crunk Juice are Cheap Vodka, Value Lemonade and WKD or any other luminescent, sugary alternative.

Bus Games

Apart from these specific events there are several bus traditions and games. On any fresher’s first away match it is customary for them to stand up in front of the whole team and sing any song of their choice no matter how good or bad they are at singing. After the first verse the whole team joins in for the chorus. After each game the team votes upon man of the match and dick of the day. The two lucky individuals get to down a pint at the front of the bus.

Here are some examples of games regularly played on the bus:

1. Dibble Dobble: Ideally played on port on wine night because a cork is required. Using a lighter one end of the cork is burnt so that it leaved a black mark on anything it touches. Each player is assigned an individual Dibble number. The game starts by one player “passing on” by saying another players Dibble number followed by their Dobble number. A Dobble is assigned to any player that makes a mistake and it is defined by leaving a mark on the players face with the burnt cork. Sounds simple but it becomes progressively more difficult after a couple people make mistakes.

2. Never have I ever: Very well-known game. Each player takes it in turn to say “Never have I ever…” followed by any statement. Anyone who has in fact done the act in the statement has to drink, If no-one has the player who suggested it must down their drink (the more dirt you have on your team-mates the more entertaining this game is, but if you’re having trouble begin with wide generic statements).

3. The Jellyfish game: Very simple to pick up. Basically involves one member making general statements about the amount of jellyfish on a rock and everyone over exaggerating their emotions when the punch line comes in (Especially good fun to play when travelling with other teams on the bus).

4. Starting line-up: A game that is great for getting to know your team. Going around in a circle starting with the number one shirt and progressing all the way up to 15 each player must name the individual who started in said position. If they don’t know they must “drink while they think”.

Which aspect of rugby culture do you prefer more; Matches or the Drinking Afterwards?

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