Local South African team with University of Birmingham Rugby Union smiling for group photoCategoriesEvents Student News

A Rugby Journey Beyond the Field: Men’s Rugby Union Tour South Africa’s Wonders 

A Rugby Journey Beyond the Field: Men’s Rugby Union Tour South Africa’s Wonders 

Our Men’s Rugby Union embarked on their first performance rugby tour in 2023. It was a fun-filled tour combining rugby, sightseeing, and experiencing the diverse cultures of South Africa.


Head Coach Tom Drewett took 28 players on the tour ranging from first team players all the way to fourth team social players, with aims of broadening the offer of rugby at Birmingham. Despite a delayed departure and luggage issues –  the boys didn’t let it stop them from having an incredible time!

Rugby Union group photo at Motherwell High School
Rugby Union with large seal



The club played two matches and took part in a specialist coaching session with two former Springbok players. The team claimed victory across both matches, beating the oldest Rugby club, the Villagers, (58 – 0) on a wet evening under the beautiful Table Mountain, and Park Rugby u21’s (38 – 12)  showing skill to beat a tough, physical South African team

The club were then hosted by both teams with a good hearty South African Braai.


Players took the opportunity to mingle, with many swapping their touring shirts and kit!

Unveiling South Africa’s Spectacular Sights


The tour was also chance to make some great memories; from eating the local delicacies, to touring the endless sights South Africa has to offer – including a Cape Peninsula tour, wine tasting, a Hout Bay boat ride with seals and penguins, and a Stellenbosch University Rugby Stadium tour. 


The club also had the chance to watch the Junior Springboks train against the Maties 1st XV in preparation for the Junior World Cup. To top it off, in the Club house, they came across Coach Tom’s photo on the wall, celebrating the winning of the South African Club champs in 1997!

Rugby Union in classroom sat down in rows of tables
Rugby Union group photo standing in front of safari cars



A highlight of the tour were the two outreach/community days, which were supported by the University of Birmingham impact fund. Children were provided with boots and kits, kindly donated to the club.


The first outreach day involved a visit to Langa township, the oldest in South Africa, eating in a local ‘bar’ and soaking up the atmosphere. In the evening, the club coached 40 children from Langa who are involved with the Ubombo project run by former Langa residents and now successful businessmen. This was an incredible experience for everyone, and after the coaching session the club learnt and sang songs with the young children.


Day two of outreach was in Motherwell township just outside Port Elizabeth. The club visited a primary school and high school, meeting the students and teachers as an opportunity for the players to experience the life of a young person in Motherwell and providing them with kit to support their rugby journeys.

Group of elephants on safari
Picture of a giraffe on safari

Into the Wild

The tour ended with a three-game safari competition, with the club splitting into smaller groups with aims to see the most spectacular sightings on each game drive. The sightings were incredible with Rhinos (Black and White), elephants, cheetahs and lions!


The tour was an astounding success, and the club hope to build on the links made with Ubombo project and the Motherwell Rugby Club.

Men’s Rugby Union tour to South Africa was an unforgettable experience that combined the passion for rugby with the exploration of a vibrant and diverse country.


Interested in playing Rugby at our University?  Whether you’re an experienced player or new to the sport, there are opportunities for everyone to participate in Rugby at the University – check them out below!