Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

N MY youth, I played for a year in the Easts team in Bris­bane, writes ex-Bath flanker Si­mon Jones. I had a great time and got a job sell­ing ad­ver­tis­ing, which en­tailed a lot of trav­el­ling. On one oc­ca­sion, I had to go from Bris­bane to Emer­ald, a town deep in the Queens­land out­back.

To get there, you could ei­ther drive for two days or fly on the Bush Pi­lots air­line – small, pri­vate planes flown by ex-Qan­tas pi­lots.

At Bris­bane Air­port, I boarded a 16-seater and was sat be­hind the empty pi­lot’s seat, so I had a great view out the front win­dow as well as the side. “This’ll be a great way to see the out­back,” I thought.

There were only six other pas­sen­gers and a big Aussie at the back shouted: “Where’s the bloody pi­lot, I’m fed up wait­ing!”

No one look­ing re­motely like a pi­lot was any­where near the plane, but the air host­ess tried to pla­cate the big man: “Don’t worry, sir. I’m sure the pi­lot will be here shortly.”

Af­ter a few more min­utes, he called out: “I’m go­ing to be late. Where the hell is this pi­lot?!”

The host­ess replied: “I’m sorry for the de­lay. He’ll be here soon.”

He car­ried on mut­ter­ing an­grily. Sud­denly, he threw down his news­pa­per and shouted: “F*** it,

I’ll fly the bloody crate my­self.”

He stormed up to the pi­lot’s seat and started to flick switches. The host­ess asked him to stop but, to our hor­ror, first one pro­pel­ler and then the other started to turn!

Two pas­sen­gers bolted for the door, at which point the host­ess be­gan to laugh and ex­plained that the big Aussie was in fact the pi­lot! Next time I drove to Emer­ald. From Lawrence Dal­laglio’s Rugby Tales, pub­Head­line(2009).


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