The Eagle has landed

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.


Many delegates at next month’s Cannes show will be turning up with a bad case of fever. No, not avian flu or dengue, but rugby fever.

 The Saturday preceding the exhibition – the day of arrival for many visitors – is also the day (or night) of the Rugby World Cup final, to be played in Paris.

To watch that event, a unique gathering will take place in a well-known bar near the Palais for a special travel retail viewing. Themed ‘Free of Duty – the Rugby World Cup Final Travel Retail Party’ – it has been sponsored by nine companies representing nine different rugby nations and one proud individual.

Wine, beer, and fish & chips will be served compliments of the sponsors though guests have to pay 30 Euros at the door, with all proceeds going to The Smile Train, the cleft lip and palate charity that is the subject of the big 5 October fund-raising dinner in Hong Kong – and of many related initiatives in Cannes.

Guests also have to wear their national colours.

The Moodie Report is of course sponsoring New Zealand (the All Blacks) though Deputy Publisher, Galwayman Dermot Davitt, and Chief Operating Officer Bob Wilby, an Englishman through and through, are understood to be not wearing black on the night.

Paton’s is in for Australia, African Pride Wines is championing the current favourites, South Africa, and from the northern hemisphere Premier Portfolio is sponsoring Wales, thanks to co-owner Kevin Walsh’s allegiances rather than those of his English colleagues Andrew Webster and Garry Maxwell.

Stuart McGuire’s Scorpio Distributors is in for England, and The Famous Grouse (no not ‘your margin demands are too high’ but the Scotch whisky brand) for bonny Scotland.  Peller Estate Icewine is hoping for sweet success for Canada and, of course, Aer Rianta International-Middle East is backing the boys in green, Ireland. And Remy Cointreau will ensure a spirited showing from another of the tournament favourites, host France.

And the individual? None other than Maryland-born, Imperial Tobacco executive John Kammerman, who has personally sponsored the event on behalf of his national side the Eagles. Like many Americans, JK was not sure his country even had a rugby team (no forward passes allowed John and there is no quarterback) but as usual he wanted to support his industry and his country.

So off he went to source an Eagles jumper. Fortunately it was not like the dreary All Blacks replacement strip against the Scots last week, which would have had to be sourced from the grey market. John duly obtained his kit from legitimate supply channels and is shown above proudly modelling the new outfit. The Eagle has indeed landed. Watch out for sightings on the French Riviera next month.

Footnote: A handful of places at Free of Duty are still available. Please contact Martin Moodie at

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