Match Day. And the one England would’ve been in had things been different. I parked up at the Camper Van site off Westhaven Marina on a sunny morning, with a view of 1000s of yachts. The site was Pier Z, which illustrates the number of boats about. I walked down ro the Fish market, which was just around the corner to see the different sorts of fish, and there is also an impressive delicatessen there.
At lunch I went on Victoria Wharf, where all the cruise ships are moored, and who should wander past but SCW and his good Lady wife. Everyone seems to be in town.
I queued for an hour to see inside the big rugby ball, which I had also seen at the last World Cup at Paris, under the Eiffel Tower, and watched a rock band at Queens Wharf.
There are so many different nationalities here, South Africans, Australians, Irish, French, Welsh, English, even the odd Sot (must be there for rugby reasons only) which made the place really colourful, and they all appeared at the ground as well.
As for the game. Without a referee, the game is nothing, but I have never liked Alain Rolland as a referee. England always seem to get him against France – he’s Irish and with a French dad, we don’t get the rub of the green, and today it was the Welsh turn. He's also played for Ireland against England - neutral???? There is no doubt that Warburton’s tackle was dangerous – he upended him, but straight red was very harsh, and should have ended the game as a contest. The French decided, however, that the game was over as a contest and stopped playing. If Wales had’ve kicked one of the 3 penalties missed (2 were easy – Mr Hook), or the conversion, then the team that tried to play rugby would’ve won. Some of the directions coming out of the IRB to make the game more watchable, are actually making it less so. The scrums are a lottery and if you upset the ref at one (Stevens) you are penalised at every scrum after that. The props faces say it all when the whistle goes – no one knows who has done wrong. The ruck is a mess, the return of the boot to clear out is needed to speed the game up. Offisde varies according to the whim of the referee, and most of the teams that played against England this WC were offside (I’m sure it was the same at other games that I didn’t go to. I’m looking forward to the opinions of the papers in the morning. It won’t be the fault of the arch meddler paddy O Brien, the Head of Referees, and the IRB, it will be the fault of the referees, who no longer manage games but follow directives. Let them manage games for what they see in front of them, and how the game develops, rather than ticking over complicated boxes.
It’s not Unusual – Tom Jones. The Welsh response to referees influencing the result of a game again.