Day 17 of the tour. Game three. In, um, where am I again? What day is it?
The day started early with a three-hour train journey from Fukuoka to Oita. A train that slowly filled with various shades of gold to rapidly become very empty at the Oita stop. Wow, there was a lot of green and gold around, with the odd Brumbies and Highlanders jersey thrown in for good measure.
After this trip, I will be forever nicer to livestock being mustered. Queue to get on the train. Queue to get off the train. Queue for the escalator. Follow the signs and directions from the people with the megaphones. Enter the assembly area for the shuttle buses. Zigzag, zig zag, zag zig, queue for the bus. FFS, don’t you people know that you fill a bus from the back! Get off the bus and follow the herd to the stadium. Don’t step off the path otherwise you will incur the wrath of the police whistle.
Once you arrive at the stadium, more queueing. For security. For food. For drinks. For the toilet. But all very orderly. And the takoyaki (octopus balls) and “com” (sic) dogs were worth it! Certainly makes a change from the dried chips and boring hot dogs. And to a certain extent, makes up for the beer.
The dome stadiums are also greatly appreciated. It is rather hot and humid in Japan at the moment, so not sitting in the blazing sun is of an advantage. Perhaps Sydney may be lucky with the major redesign…… I am also sure that the players are appreciating not having to PLAY in the sun. Although the humidity is still meaning frequent drinks breaks.
Speaking of drinks, there were a couple of Aussie blokes in the crowd with a blow-up boxing kangaroo. If the beer was better they could have charged a beer a photo and still be sitting there drinking them this morning.
And while we are on the subject of beer, can we petition World Rugby to perhaps look for a different beer sponsor? Or perhaps allow other beverage sellers wandering the ground. It is a worry when you go to the rugby and only have one beer because halfway through that one you remember why you don’t normally drink………. the brand that shall not be mentioned.
My random thoughts on the game:
For some reason, I was a little nervous this game. Don’t know why. After all, it was ONLY Uruguay. The 13 changes to the team, including the late withdrawal of JOC from the bench, might have had something to do with it perhaps.
Please, please, PPPPLLLLLEEEEEAAAASSSSSEEEEEEEE, can we sort out the high tackles. Two yellow cards, numerous penalties and a few that slipped the net, are too many for one side in one game. Yes, Rory, I know they are short, but that doesn’t negate the responsibility of the tackler to get below the shoulder. All going well we will meet England in the Quarter Final, and it seems that Owen Farrell is attracting red cards for those who tackle him like he attracts high tackles.
Welcome to the Wallaby club Jordan Petia. Try on debut is certainly something to boast about. Personally I think that his first half of international rugby was a good outing. Hopefully, there will be many more to see.
Another first was James Slipper scoring his first-ever international try. Yes, you heard right, in over 90 appearances for the Wallabies this was the first time that he has crossed the chalk. Yay Slips!
Matt Toomua has a very expressive face. In particular, very active eyebrows. Not sure what it was that pissed Nic White off though so that he passed the ball directly at Matty’s forehead. I bet you Kirtley Beale is thankful that someone has taken the ‘Gilbert’ moniker off him.
The crowd started to become a little restless in the second half. There were Mexican waves, singing lessons, beer sculling, and a streaker. This young (cough) gentleman entered the field dressed only in a green and gold flag, frightened the bejeezus out of Beale then retreated to the safety of the stands. The most amusing thing was that not one of the security guards or police stirred from their posts. Even when he ran between them. It would be interesting to know if the long arm of the law did catch up with him later.
Well. That is that. One final word about the jerseys. Aren’t they great! All though I do prefer the gold version with the green markings, the one they wore last night was excellent. My personal opinion is that our first option should be the gold with green pattern and the alternate the green with gold permanently. Does anyone know who we can talk to?