Bristol Bears in France- European Challenge Cup Final 2020

The logistics of taking a professional rugby team to another country for one of the most important matches in their history is an undertaking at the best of times but during a global pandemic this takes on a whole new dimension.

As the Bristol Bears qualified for the European Challenge Cup Final in October 2020 and a trip to Aix en Provence, we knew the challenge was on to provide the smoothest, hassle free preparations for the team so they could concentrate on the most important thing, performing on the field.

Sportsrooms have been proud to work with Bristol Bears for the past five seasons and have seen the team grow from the English Rugby Championship (the second tier in English Rugby) to becoming the European Rugby powerhouse they are today. Each and every team trip and hotel stay has its own elements of challenges and complications but a trip to France during the Covid19 pandemic added a few more.

The team logistics, planning and execution is headed up by Bristol Bears Team Manager, Nick Fenton-Wells who works with Sportsrooms to plan and operate all elements of the team travel plan for all matches including the trip to France.

One of the key elements is to enable the quickest and most hassle free journey to the location- it is vital to keep travel time to a minimum to help maximise the teams performance. In this case chartering a plane for the team direct from Bristol to Marseille (just 20 minutes from the final venue) allowed the quickest route from origin to destination. In these times it was also key to organise a plane that could take into account social distancing, a theme that continues into the hotel.

Taking a hotel exclusively enabled the safest environment for the team whilst in France. The hotel also needed to provide the most comfortable environment for team preparations along with high quality catering to fuel the team throughout their stay and most importantly during the match itself.

The reality is that all the effort going into the travel, accommodation and logistics is for one simple reason and that is to enable the best performance on the pitch. On that Friday night in October the Bristol Bears clicked on every level to win a pulsating European Challenge Cup Final and give the club its first silverware for over three decades.

After a couple of celebratory post match beers, the team’s time in France concluded with an early morning flight back from Marseille to Bristol so the celebrations could continue back home after a hugely successful trip.

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