Rugby on foreign shores

July 27, 2014

Last night saw me at the Waratahs v Brumbies semi-final and it was a good evening.  I walked up to the stadium from the hotel which felt good as it was on top of a twenty mile bush walk and the atmosphere was good.  Very similar to a local derby in Wales and with a similar crowd.   It remains the great joy of Rugby that spectators mix both before, during and after the game.  I was under strict instructions from the Bealing twins to support the Waratahs, a decision made easier by the fact I ended up sitting in the season ticket holder area.   Again that felt very similar to the North Stand in the Arms Park where I have may good friends who keep their season tickets going for years.  The guy next to me had been waiting 16 years for the Waratahs to make a final and I can sympathise.   We talked about the cruel way in which Cardiff Blues were derived of a second heineken final by the one and only example of drop kicks as international rugby's equivalent of the penalty shoot out.

The game itself was good, but marred by refereeing decisions.  At one point I tweeted the suggestion that we be allowed to substitute the referee like non-performing players can be changed and I still think that might have some milage in it as an idea.  That said the Waratahs were aided by some crazy tactical decisions by the Brumbies who seem not have learnt the basics of taking the points when they are available.  I can't see the Crusaders being troubled in the final but we shall see.  I will be watching that on tele at home!  There were some lessons for Welsh Rugby though in the entertainment and atmosphere, we need to do more marketing.  The marching band (pictured) were a little strange however.  On the other hand, there were no lessons to be learnt from the catering which if anything was significantly worse than at the Arms Park.  I was pretty hungry after a long walk and needed something just to keep going.  The least unhealthy option was a bag of chips, which I had little choice but to accept.  The first time I have had such a thing in well over a year.   Given that the players eat healthy food how about showing the same respect to spectators?

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