Local veteran rugby player Noel Smith tries on his Bullrouts touring shirt before he jets out to America to compete with his fe
Local veteran rugby player Noel Smith tries on his Bullrouts touring shirt before he jets out to America to compete with his fe

Bullrouts Golden Oldies ambassadors

By Tony White

Look out world the Grafton Bullrouts Golden Oldies are coming your way!

A 20-strong touring party including wives are headed to the 15th Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival in San Diego, USA, from May 15-22.

More than 2500 players from teams around the world are expected attend the Festival which will be played on 17 fields at the Del Mar Polo Grounds.

Several of the touring party have already departed Grafton to take in the sights of South America and neighbouring countries and others are planning a trip to Europe after the tournament which includes meeting at a famous pub in Dublin.

"Everyone is very excited," tour organiser Kathy McCabe said.

"This will be the fourth World Rugby Festival the Bullrouts have been represented.

"The team will play three games but mostly it's all very social.

"Most of the time is spent in various forms of social activity. The Golden Oldies motto is 'Fun, Friendship and Fraternity' and the boys certainly know how to enjoy themselves."

The Bullrouts first attended the World Rugby Festival in Adelaide in 1999 followed by the tournament in France, 2001, and sent a very large contingent to Brisbane in 2003.

The next World Rugby Festival is scheduled for October 2006 in Wellington, New Zealand.

The club, captained by Allan Moran, boasts more than 30 members from all walks of life with common bonds ? rugby and enjoyment.

Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival, for players over-35, is described as "grassroots rugby.

"The Festival is not set up to enrich individuals who may never have laced up rugby boots, rather it's for the enjoyment of those who know and appreciate special friendships made in this great game.

"It is not uncompromising competition more a means of cementing friendships and meeting some of the great characters on and off the field."

There is no official team winner of the World Rugby Festival.

The tourists, far more portly than in their younger days, have been training hard for the event.

"Regular training has taken place at our sponsor's venue, the Crown Hotel, and several players have made some inter city trips to Coffs Harbour to get used to the travelling," McCabe joked.

Highlight of the tour is the Grande Finale Dinner on the deck of the American aircraft carrier, USS Midway.

"Hopefully no-one falls overboard or decides to take a late dip," McCabe said.

The touring party is: from Grafton, Joe and Kathy McCabe, Paul and Ann McCabe, Ted and Kay Strong, Bill Bishop and Rose Sloan, Charlie Falzon and Jan Fransisco and Noel Smith; from Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Nambucca Heads, Allan Moran, Alan Johnson, Peter Robertson, Marty Phillips, Peter Barrett, Brian Hopwood, Laurie Boekeman, Rhys Herzig and Steve Russo.



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