Ahead of Scarlets’ journey to South Africa this week, to take on Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening, we caught up with two people who play a big part in ensuring that the region is travel-ready!
Thomas Cook Sport Account Manager Marie Mort and Scarlets Team Manager Sara Davies get the work done behind the scenes and we caught up with them to find out what it takes to keep the wheels spinning.
Thomas Cook Sport Account Manager Marie Mort;
- What’s the trickiest part of organising travel for an entire rugby team? Always trying to anticipate ‘the worse case scenario’ and planning for the worst. You always need to ensure you have a fall back position ready and waiting in case a situation, out of your control, arises. The movement of an entire squad and backroom staff is vital to ensure they have the best preparation leading into match day - my nightmare is long queues at airports!
- What’s the strangest request you’ve had to accommodate as part of your role? I’m very lucky, as Scarlets are a dream to work with, however trying to get a member of the travelling party through an airport without photo ID was different!!
- Where’s your favourite destination for a rugby game? I’m lucky enough to have travelled to some beautiful cities and amazing places but for a Rugby Match, it’ll have to be Stade Marcel – Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The supporters are brilliant and the atmosphere around the Stadium pre match was amazing. Aside from that, a sold out Aviva Stadium is pretty special too.
ScarletsTeam Manager Sara Davies;
- Who has the most specialist requirements when travelling?
Our Head of Strength & Conditioning Huw Davies probably has the most specialist requirements when travelling. Not so much from a personal perspective but he takes care of the playing squad’s recovery and nutritional needs which requires fine attention to detail.
- Which player is most likely to forget their passport?
To be fair the players are quite responsible and I haven’t had too many issues with forgotten passports. We’ve only had one incident so far this season where a player had forgotten his passport and his wife managed to catch us up in the bus.
- Which players are the most mischievous on their travels?
We spend a lot of time together as a squad and having a little bit of mischief is good for keeping moral and spirits high. Rob Evans and Gareth Davies are probably the most prolific mischief-makers whilst a Samson Lee story over breakfast keeps us all entertained!
- Which two players are inseparable when travelling as a team?
We have a couple of inseparable pairings; Rob Evans and Josh Macleod, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Patchell and Clayton Blommetjies and Uzair Cassiem!
- Who’s the most afraid of flying?
I’m fortunate at the moment that as a squad and management group we’re all happy flyers. The one thing I would say is that trying to fit some of the larger frames in to standard airline seats can be testing and a little snug!
- Who brings the most toiletries with them on an away trip?
I can’t say I have a good look through players’ bags to know the extent of their toiletry needs however kit manager Wayne James does carry a bag of essentials in case someone forgets something!
- What’s been the most enjoyable European away trip?
Having only joined the Scarlets earlier this summer the only European trip I’ve experienced with the squad to date is Leicester Tigers. As lovely as Leicester is I’d probably not put it up there with one of my favourite destinations however I’m very much looking forward to Paris in the New Year and experiencing Racing 92’s new stadium.