Some of the world’s most travelled props, backs and wingers will be locking down next month for a special tournament to mark the 50th anniversary of a globe-trotting rugby club. British Airways Rugby Football Club (BARFC) will be playing host to teams from all over the world for its Golden Jubilee Tournament at the end of April.
BARFC is made up of people from all over British Airways - from captains to cargo handlers, computer boffins to cabin crew.
Affiliated to the RFU, the team has travelled the world, playing one long-haul and one short-haul tournament each year.
The start of the World Airlines Rugby Tournament by Rolls Royce in 1993 has also ensured that the team continues its globe-trotting every 18 months.
The world’s major airlines and aviation firms send teams to the tournament, last held in May 2000 in New Zealand.
That competition saw BA Wales beat Shannon Aerospace with Malaysian Airlines, Aer Lingus, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, and Sydney Air Traffic Control amongst others competing for the coveted title, with BA Heathrow collecting a trophy for Most Outstanding Team.
Taking part in the World Airlines Rugby Tournament and organising its own tours has seen BARFC members get their passports stamped in Grand Cayman, Johannesburg, Sydney and Malaysia to name but a few destinations.
This year the team will be heading off to Australia and Bangkok to meet rugby-loving counterparts from other airlines in two separate tours.
BARFC Secretary Andrew Lord, BA’s Flight Manager Manchester, said: “It’s a very sociable club, bringing together people with a love for rugby within the company.
“The tours are also a great way of building bridges with colleagues in airlines the world over in what is an extremely competitive industry.”
However, BARFC will be playing closer to home when its hosts its Golden Jubilee Tournament between 26 and 28 April close to Heathrow.
The weekend starts with a welcome dinner on the Thursday night where ex-British Lions Captain Willie John McBride will be entertaining guests.
Ten-a-side games commence the following day and include teams from Qantas, South African Airways, Rolls Royce, Aerolinas Argentinas, Paris Air Traffic Control, Cathay Pacific.
Finals take place on the Saturday followed by an Awards Dinner with ex-Bath and England wing David Trick in the evening.
BARFC Vice Chairman Mark Pamplin, who works for BA Engineering at Heathrow, added: “The Golden Jubilee tournament promises to be a special way of marking our 50th anniversary and forging new friendships across the aviation community at the same time.”