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16th Feb 2017

Former English rugby star reveals brutal back of the bus initiation ritual

"You just took the punishment"


It’s not just presidents that got on the wrong side of Martin Johnson.

The former England captain famously caused a diplomatic incident in 2003 when England came to play Ireland in the Six Nations. Johnson took up a position that meant President Mary McAleese had to walk on the grass when she greeted the teams.

Still, Johnson’s young team mates at Leicester would probably have preferred walking on the grass to the initiation rituals on the team bus. Leicester’s young guns had to endure some pretty physical team-bonding games, according to Johnson’s former teammate, Andy Goode.

“On the bus on the way home, all the old guard used to sit at the back of the bus and you had to have one opportunity as a youngster to try and get to the back seat,” Goode recalled on TV3’s The Clubhouse.

“You had to take any punishment that was handed out to you. Martin Johnson sat in the middle of the back seat and there was no getting past him. You just took the punishment on the way up there.”

He added that the doctor would sometimes have to give the players stitches when they came off the bus! Suddenly, walking on the grass doesn’t seem that bad…

The next episode of The Clubhouse will be aired on TV3 at 10.30pm on Tuesday.

The Clubhouse has teamed up with the Heineken Rugby Club to provide a weekly on-air competition which will send lucky winners to the Champions Cup final in Edinburgh in May. The Heineken Rugby Club offers exclusive rugby content and your chance to win prizes, tickets and more at the Heineken Rugby Club website

Brought to you by Heineken Rugby Club.