Parties, pints and potholes - life is never dull when you’re following the Lions
I’m rooming with Peter Clohessy. It’s like living with a new-born baby
Lions supporters cheer during the first Test. The atmosphere throughout the game was like a carnival . Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
On a Lions Tour, it’s not just about the players on the field. It’s about the big crowd of eejits that follow the team around, people from all four countries who come out here on the beer for a few weeks and maybe take in some rugby along the way.
I’m here with Trevor Brennan’s tour company. There’s a big gang of us that has gone from town to town having nights out and even playing a game or two. Men have got lost along the way. One lad hasn’t been seen since Heathrow.
I’m rooming with Peter Clohessy. I don’t really know how that happened. Someone with a warped sense of humour obviously dreamed it up as punishment for me. We’ve decided that between Trevor, Claw and I, we have about eight years of suspensions to our name. So maybe there’s a theme in there somewhere.
All I know is that Claw and his wife arrived on the Wednesday before the first Test and his wife has headed off to hook up with some friends and left Claw rooming with me. Whether she was trying to get away from him or he was trying to get away from her, I’m not all that sure. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt anyway.
Claw isn’t quite treating me like the slave he used to when we roomed together years ago. Back then it was, “Quinny, are you making tea?” And, “Quinny, are you ordering room service?” And, “Quinny, will you get the pints in?”
It’s not that bad now that we’re all grown up. The worst thing with him though is that we sleep when he sleeps. If he wants to go to bed at nine o’clock and wake up at four in the morning, then that’s what I have to do as well. It’s like rooming with a new-born.
As for Trevor, he isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. As the leader of the tour, he booked himself into business class on the flight over. At one stage, one of the air hostesses came over to him and said, “Mr Brennan, would like anything from the bar?”
Trevor was all chuffed that she addressed him by name, thinking she must be a serious rugby fan if she was able to pick him out six years after he retired. It was only when he told us that he was going to give her his autograph that we explained that everybody in business class gets called by name. They have it right there on a list in front of them.
That first week, it was hard to get a feel for there being a tour on at all. People were arriving every day from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales but the Australian public didn’t seem to have all that much interest. You had to go deep into the papers to even see a mention of the Test series and you never, ever saw it on the back pages.