Rugby in South Korea

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Rugby Friends

Seoul Surivors RFC - http://www.survivorsrfc.com/

World in Union Scroll - Profile

Jaesub Choi - played for Korean National side & actively works with Korean RFU in developing rugby in Korea!

Country Blog

Oops. Having finally escaped the clutches of a Chinese winter, Tom and I went a little crazy and decided to blow our dwindling budget for a week of carefree cycling and 'love motels' in South Korea (it seems the Koreans have a weakness for sneaky hanky panky, and the whole country is full of these great little motels, all with electric blankets and complimentary toothbrushes & razors - I've not been so smooth and minty fresh since I left last May!).

Anyway, enough of that, let me rewind a little to our final farewell to China. To be honest, leaving China was a big stepping stone for us. Having spent 3 months in the same country, we forgot what it was like to have to think about the challenges that new countries usually present for us. Route planning, camping spots, people, food etc. Though strangely we weren't nervous about being in Korea. In fact I think we were both wildly excited about it. I was more nervous that the ferry tickets leaving from Qingdao in China wouldn't actually be reserved! We had booked them 3 weeks before in a hostel and all we had was a 3 digit reference number to show for it. I wasn't convinced. So with the usual cross border nerves that I'm still inexplicably afflicted by (or was that the Chinese wine?), we cycled down to the ferry port while I prayed that we would escape before our visa expired the following day. Miraculously though, we were presented with two tickets no problem and were ushered through with none of the problems I had managed to conjure up in my head. Seems like the Chinese aren't so fussed about customs when you're leaving, funny that...

A smooth exit was followed by a perfectly relaxed overnight crossing and a very deep and content sleep (if Tom's snoring was anything to go by), before we woke up to the docks of country number 17. At last! Korea! Not allowing the evidence of fresh snowfall to dampen our enthusiasm, we free wheeled out of Incheon Ferry Port and compass in hand set ourselves on a direct north-east course to the capital and the Seoul Survivors RFC.

 

Our tour is not about rewriting the history books, if the hard work has been performed by people like Jaesub, then that is where the info should be read. Please view a rather comprehensive and well researched history of his countries rugby history below. Thanks Jaesub for collating this material.

Cambridge Tour of Seoul in 1986
http://blog.naver.com/rugby15/50045722368
http://blog.naver.com/rugby15/50045293265

The history of rugby tour and relationship with England
http://blog.naver.com/rugby15/50044588730

Royal Navy tour in 1960
http://blog.naver.com/rugby15/50039676667

History of Korea Rugby
http://blog.naver.com/rugby15/50032520001

Also, this is our rugby blog in English
http://touchtagrugby.blogspot.com/2009/04/letter-from-1987.html

 

The Koreans are made for rugby as it happens but we were meeting with an ex-pat team based in the capital of Seoul.  The Seoul Survivors RFC play rugby alongside their counterparts the Seoul Sisters RFC, both great names, and both great people. The club contain mostly expats from all corners of the globe and are actively using their positions to raise money across various Korean projects and charities. Nick, our host, showed us some amazing hospitality, not to mention being the smartest dressed rugby man on the planet as he greeted us in full US military uniform. 

The Seoul Survivors play their rugby all across East Asia and are always looking for new challenges, they'd love to hear your touring ideas and if you are looking for tough but social rugby, I now point you their way. 

Now, as mentioned, Tom and I had basically made a pact before heading to Korea that we would treat ourselves to the cheapest accommodation we could find during our time in Korea. We only had to cycle 550km so there weren't too many nights on the road to budget for and camping in the freezing cold snow was positively a no go zone. I was putting my frostbitten foot down. Plus, we had managed to get in contact with a fantastic guy called Jan, a Dutch cyclist who had lived in Korea for the past 20 years and who had plotted a perfect route from Seoul to Busan, detailing the roads, distances, where the motels were and even shortcuts! It was truly stunning and we loved every single second of it. Granted there was no roughing it that week but to us that didn't matter. The point was that we were enjoying ourselves again. We had fun. The fire was definitely back and we were both loving it. And the fact that we could finish the day watching Kung Fu Panda in a room with heated floors was just paradise. What the heck, we'd make up for it in Japan where we would definitely be back in the tent no matter what the elements threw at us. Besides, it was February - virtually summertime in our books....

p.s. If anyone is ever interested in cycling through Korea, do check out Jan's website and get in touch with him - http://user.chollian.net/~boonstra/korea/cycle.htm. We were lucky enough to meet up with him at the ferry port in Busan before leaving for Japan and we cannot sing his praises highly enough. In fact, if you hadn't considered visiting Korea before, let alone cycling through it, then you should!

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