The name, Nomads, is steeped in Rosslyn Park and indeed rugby history. In the last years of the 19th Century, Rosslyn Park blazed a trail by becoming the first English club to play rugby in Europe against Stade Francais in Paris in 1892. Then 20 years later in 1912 the club played the first games of rugby ever seen in Prague, Budapest and Vienna and the touring side took the name Nomads.
Indeed from a recent Huffington Post entry “By 1912, Park was boldly carrying the gospel to the Central Powers, bringing light to nations not only ignorant of Rugby, but also rattling sabres in the general direction of England. A visiting Hungarian Association Football team saw Rugby Football played and wanted to introduce it at home. The necessary finance was found (the hosts put up £400 and the Club £100) and, bolstered by reinforcements from universities, the Services and hospitals, 42 players toured Austria-Hungary. Two sides, christened Rosslyn Park and London Nomads, played each other; 3,000 miles were traveled in ten April days.”
However the origin of the name goes further back. In 1911 the club for the former pupils of Marlborough College, known as the Marlborough Nomads, merged with Rosslyn Park. The Marlborough Nomads were founded in 1868, some 11 years before Rosslyn Park, and were one of the 21 founding member clubs of the RFU in 1871. That year, the first rugby international between Scotland and England took place and the Nomads provided Alfred St George Hamersley to that side (and he would go on to captain England in 1874).
Over 25 years, the current Nomads have been representing the Park in foreign fields a certain maturity to their tours have developed – gone are the early day tours of cheap hostels and East European frontier towns with the Stag parties and in has come a structure based around an attractive, sunny destination with good food and refreshments to carry us through the weekend.
This year is another step up to mark the 25th anniversary of the re-formation of the modern day Nomads. As with their 20th anniversary tour, they set their sights further afield but for the first time they cross the equator and visit the southern tip of Africa, the point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet – Cape Town.